Huskers Earn Thrilling Win over No. 14 Denver
Lincoln - The Nebraska soccer team extended its win-streak to four games with a thrilling come-from-behind performance on its way to a 2-1 victory over No. 14 Denver in front of 636 fans on a perfect day for soccer in Lincoln on Sunday. The win give Nebraska its first four-game win streak since early 2010 and the first win over a ranked opponent that same season.
The Huskers (6-2-1) responded quickly after Denver (7-1-1) went ahead in the 74th minute of action only to earn a pair of goals from sophomore Katie Kraeutner and freshman Jaycie Johnson in just over a five-minute span to send a large Husker fan base home with a victory.
The game-winning goal was the third-consecutive game-winner for the freshman who now has scored in four straight matches. Johnson currently sits tied for third in the conference and leads all Big Ten freshmen in goals with seven.
In the first half, Senior Stacy Bartels had a scoring chance go just high of the cross bar three minutes into the contest. In the 12th minute, senior defender Ari Romero sent a long-range cross in that went just wide of the post as the Huskers kept pressure on the Pioneer defense to set the tone early in the match.
At the 31:52 mark, Johnson registered the best Nebraska chance of the first 45 minutes as the Denver keeper made a nice stop to keep the Huskers off the scoreboard as both teams entered the intermission scoreless.
Despite no scoring in the first half of action, Nebraska amassed six shot attempts and a hefty amount of possession. The Huskers were stingy on the defensive end in the first half limiting the Pioneers to just one shot attempt, which came in the final minute of play. Denver goalkeeper Cassidy Rey was forced into making two saves, as NU outshot DU 2-0 on net.
The Pioneers came out strong in the second half with a sense of urgency, putting up several shot attempts in the opening minutes. However, the Nebraska back line prevented the opportunities and the match remained scoreless.
At the 56:37 mark, senior defender Kylie Greischar came down the left side, crossed with her left foot to Bartels who headed it off the crossbar after the ball was tipped by the Pioneer keeper. Later in the 69th minute, Greischar found Sydney Miramontez for a chance in the left box but a Pioneer defender was there to deflect it away.
The stalemate was broken at the 73:17 mark when suddenly Cassidy Larson found Kristen Hamilton for her seventh tally of the year giving Denver the 1-0 edge to quiet the rowdy Nebraska crowd. Hamilton dribbled passed a couple defenders, made a move and knocked it into the bottom-left corner to seemingly give DU momentum.
Nebraska responded quickly just 15 seconds later when Jordan Jackson found Katie Kraeutner to knot up the contest at 1-1 as the Nebraska Soccer Field was rocking with excitement. Jackson, from 20 yards out, crossed it into Kraeutner on the far post to knock it in from five yards out for the equalizer and her second score of the season.
The strong play that the Huskers displayed throughout the match continued after answering the Pioneers score. As the action quickened, Samantha Areman sent in a great crossing pass from 25 yards out left wing to Johnson who headed it in from the penalty spot for the eventual game-winning goal giving Nebraska the 2-1 lead at the 78:49 mark of the second half.
NU senior goalkeeper Emma Stevens picked up her 24th career victory in net with three saves. Stevens set a new career-high for consecutive scoreless minutes at 251:30 before allowing the only Denver goal of the match.
On the match, Nebraska outshot Denver 13-10, including a 7-4 shots on goal advantage. Johnson and Bartels each posted three shot attempts with a pair of shots on net. Miramontez, Jackson and Kraeutner each notched a pair of shots on the day. The 636 fans in attendance at the Nebraska Soccer Field ranks fifth highest in the passed five seasons and the most since the season opener in 2011.
Nebraska will now go on the road for a pair of Big Ten Conference matches next weekend. NU will travel to Northwestern on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., before heading to Illinois on Sunday at 1 p.m.