Lincoln - The Nebraska soccer team returns home with momentum after a three-week road trip to open Big Ten Conference play on national television against unbeaten Michigan State on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. The Huskers boast an impressive 16-1 all-time record in conference openers, including 2-0 in openers since joining the Big Ten.
Thursday’s matchup with Michigan State will be the third meeting on the pitch between the two programs, with MSU taking the first two contests since the Huskers joined the conference. The Spartans, who returns eight starters from last year, are off to a quick 6-0-2 start in 2013 after finishing last season with an 8-9-2 overall mark and 2-8-1 in Big Ten action. MSU has allowed just eight goals over eight matches, including a pair of shutouts.
Michigan State is coming off of victories over Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan last weekend and will attempt to keep that momentum going in league play. The Spartans have a balanced attack featuring 11 goal scorers this season through eight contests, including five who have notched double-digit shot attempts.
NU is currently 4-2-1 on the season after a quality win over San Diego on Sunday with senior Jordan Jackson leading the attack with two goals on a conference-best 39 shots, including 22 on goal. Freshman Jaycie Johnson is off to a quick start in her first season at NU with a team-high five goals. Johnson has been very efficient with her scoring chances, converting her five tallies on just nine shots on goal.
The conference opener will be televised live on the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.com, while Nebraska soccer fans can also follow live stats for the match on Huskers.com.
Huskers Stingy on Defense
Nebraska is coming off of a pair of victories at last weekend’s Kansas Invitational Tournament against San Francisco and San Diego. NU allowed just three shots on goal in each match and gave up the only score in the opening minutes in the 2-1 victory over the Toreros. For the weekend, the Huskers outworked its opponents by a 38-25 margin in shot attempts thanks to a strong back line that kept USF and USD chances to a minimum.
Jordan Jackson, Jaycie Johnson and Ari Romero were all named to the 2013 Kansas Invitational All-Tournament team for their efforts in guiding the Huskers to a 2-0 weekend in Lawrence.
Nebraska Working Hard on Offense
Head Coach John Walker has featured a high-octane offense over the first month of the season. Nebraska has recorded 30 shots twice, and 14 shots on goal on three occasions through four matches in 2013. NU has already notched as many double-digit shots on goal performances this season as it did all of 2012.
The NU offense, aided by a strong defensive unit, have outshot its opponents by a 154-83 margin through seven matches, including a 64-32 shots on goal advantage. The Huskers have had eight different goal scorers on the year, including two freshmen with multiple scores. The Nebraska offense has outperformed the opposition in six-of-seven matches.