Nebraska Falls Just Short to No. 21 Michigan
Lincoln - Facing a two-goal deficit in the latter stages of the second half, No. 23 Nebraska battled back with a wild final 15 minutes but fell just short as No. 21 Michigan picked up the 2-1 decision, snapping the Huskers seven-game win streak at the cold and windy Nebraska Soccer Field on Sunday.
The Wolverines (9-2-1, 3-1-1 Big Ten) opened up the match pressuring the Huskers in all angles, recording the game’s first shot 90 seconds into the game. Michigan’s first real opportunity came at the seven minute mark, as Caroline Harris had an opening at the net but was denied by a group of Husker defenders.
Michigan had its best chance to put a goal past NU with 35:15 left in the first half, as the Wolverines had a corner by Shelina Zadorsky headed off the cross bar by Holly Hein. The Huskers scrambled to get the ball out of their defensive zone, but the play would mark one of the last chances the Wolverines had to score in the first half.
The tide shifted with 29 minutes left, with the Huskers pressuring Michigan’s defenders weaving in and out of traffic, while drawing calls. With 28:15 minutes left, Katie Kraeutner booted a free kick just high sparking an onslaught of NU offensive pressure.
A hand ball just outside of the box with 24 minutes left by Michigan gave the Huskers a great opportunity to score. Junior Caroline Gray kicked a bending free kick only to be saved by the Wolverine’s keeper Taylor Bucklin.
The showdown of Big Ten ranked teams saw no loss in physical play, as NU’s Odermann and Michigan’s Tori Mccombs both received yellow cards with 9:14 left in the first half as both squads entered the intermission scoreless.
The second half opened up much to the dismay for the Huskers, as Michigan put up two quick goals. At the 53:30 mark, Madisson Lewis broke through the Husker defense to bring the ball up the left side, using a ground cross to Nkem Ezurike to score the game’s first goal, her seventh goal of the season.
Four minutes later, a deep throw-in led to Michigan's second goal of the match, as the ball bounced off multiple Husker defenders before the Wolverines' Lewis knocked the ball in passed NU’s Stevens.
Nebraska (9-3-1, 4-1-0 Big Ten) wasn’t down for the count though, despite a 2-0 deficit, as the Huskers continued to battle through the second half, with it culminating in a Husker goal at the 74:01 mark. The score was set up by a beautiful crossing pass by freshman Courtney Claassen to Jordan Jackson, as Jackson headed in the shot to bring the Huskers within one.
Claassen’s assist was her first point of her young Husker career, while Jackson's 30th career tally moves her into a tie for eighth all-time at Nebraska with Nikki Baker.
NU's offensive pressure remained constant after the goal and the remaining 25 minutes of the game was full of excitement, as the Huskers had multiple chances to even up the match with Michigan. There was no shortage of opportunities as everyone got into the mix for the Huskers. Gray had an opportunity with seven minutes left in match, when she shot the ball just high over the bar from about 25 yards. Nebraska’s best chance came just two minutes later, as Jaycie Johnson had a breakaway lob just miss the crossbar.
The Huskers had one final chance to tie up the match with 20 seconds remaining, as Emma Stevens took a free kick from 30 yards out, only to have the ball be deflected out of bounds, ending the game.
Michigan outshot Nebraska by a 15-13 margin as both teams amassed four shots on target. The home loss for the Huskers is the first of the year as they remain atop the Big Ten standings after a Penn State loss to Minnesota.
Nebraska will have just one match this upcoming week as Nebraska travels to Purdue on Friday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m.