Huskers Travel to San Antonio for 2009 Big 12 Championship
Game 20: No. 5 Oklahoma State (12-7-0. 5-5-0) vs. No. 4 Nebraska (11-4-4, 5-3-2)
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 4
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Location: Blossom Soccer Stadium (Map), San Antonio, Texas
Free Live Video/Audio: Big12sports.com
Free Live Stats: Big12sports.com
Live Blog: NU Soccer Blog
The Nebraska soccer team begins the 2009 postseason when it travels to the Lone Star State for the Big 12 Championship this week in San Antonio. Carrying the school's best record since 2005 (11- 4-4, 5-3-2), the Huskers have earned the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament and will face No. 5 Oklahoma State (12-7-0, 5-5-0) this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., at Blossom Soccer Stadium. Fans can catch all the action with free live video and stats on Big12Sports.com and a live blog on Huskers.com.
Nebraska has traditionally been one of the Big 12's best teams in San Antonio, advancing to the semifinals nine times and reaching six championship games, where the Huskers have won a conference-high five titles. NU is 17-7 all-time at the Big 12 Championship, having won its last game in the tournament in 2005, a 3-1 win over Kansas. The Huskers were ousted in the first round in 2006 and 2008 and did not qualify for the eight-team tournament in 2007.
Nebraska ended the regular season with a thrilling come-from-behind overtime victory (2-1) over Iowa State last Friday in Lincoln. Trailing 1-0 midway through the second half, sophomore Molly Thomas tied the game in the 72nd minute, before senior Lauren Isenhower scored the game-winning goal with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the first overtime on a header from Thomas.
The Huskers entered the week sixth in the Big 12 standings, but jumped to fourth with the victory, claiming the highest seed Nebraska has taken into the conference tournament since 2005. This Wednesday's contest with Oklahoma State will be a rematch of an Oct. 4 battle in Lincoln, which NU won, 2-0, on goals from seniors Shay Powell and Carly Peetz. This will be the first-ever NU-OSU matchup at the Big 12 Championship, with the Cowgirls heading to San Antonio as one of the conference's hottest teams, rebounding from a 1-4 league start to win their last five games.
Nebraska's side of the bracket includes defending Big 12 champion and No. 1 seed Missouri, who faces No. 8 Kansas on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. No. 3 Colorado takes on No. 6 Texas at 2 p.m., while No. 2 Texas A&M meets No. 7 Baylor at 8 p.m. in day one action. Friday's semifinals are slated for 5:30 p.m. (No.1/8 vs. No. 4/5) and 8 p.m. (No. 2/7 vs. No. 3/6), while the Big 12 Championship game will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m., in a nationally-televised match on Fox College Sports.
Freshman Morgan Marlborough has been the Huskers' top performer this year, leading the Big 12 Conference in goals (21) and points (49) the entire season, while she is also currently tied for the national goal lead with Portland's Danielle Foxhaven. Marlborough is the NU freshman school-record holder in goals and points and ranks No. 4 and No. 5 in those categories on the single-season all-time charts.
Sophomore Molly Thomas has also been among the Big 12's best this year, ranking in the top 10 in the league in goals (8, T-6th) and assists (6, T-7th). While Marlborough and Thomas have paced the NU offense to the third-best scoring total in the nation (62 goals), seniors Anna Caniglia and Peetz have been stabilizing forces in the Huskers' successful regular season. Caniglia leads the team in assists (9) with the league's second-highest total, while Peetz has continued her role as one of Nebraska's best defenders in school history, helping the the Huskers hold opponents to 1.58 goals per game and producing career season-high totals on offense with four goals and three assists. Junior goalkeepers Tara Macdonald and Jessica Mills have split time in the net, with Macdonald ranking third in the Big 12 with a .800 save percentage. Both have posted winning records (Macdonald, 6-1-3; Mills, 5-3-1).
Husker History vs. Oklahoma State
Nebraska has won 10 of 14 matchups against Oklahoma State for a 10-4 lead in the all-time series. The Huskers only lost to the Cowgirls one time in the first 10 meetings, but Oklahoma State has been stronger in recent years and won three of the past four contests. The Cowgirls were ranked No. 9 nationally at the time of last year's NU-OSU matchup in Stillwater, which the Huskers dropped, 2-1, after a scoreless first half. Nebraska won this year's regular-season contest, 2-0, in Lincoln on Oct. 4.
A Look Back: Huskers Knock Off Defending Big 12 Champs, 2-0
Nebraska used one of its most complete efforts of the season to earn its first Big 12 victory with a 2-0 win over Oklahoma State on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the Nebraska Soccer Field.
The Huskers were a determined team in their Big 12 home opener after beginning conference play with a pair of road games, dropping a 1-0 battle at Colorado and fighting to a 3-3 tie at Texas Tech.
Senior Shay Powell put the Huskers on the scoreboard quickly, when her shot from 10 yards away hit the crossbar and bounced over the line to put Nebraska on top, 1-0, at the 10:24 mark of the first half.
Powell's goal off an assist from sophomore defender Blair Slapper was her second in a row in a Big 12 game after she also scored at Texas Tech.
Nebraska held OSU to two shots in building a 1-0 lead into halftime that it would not relinquish behind a strong effort in the net from junior goalkeeper Jessica Mills. The Houston, Texas native played one of the best games of her career to keep a talented Cowgirl squad scoreless for just the third time this season.
The NU defense aided Mills' effort by holding OSU to eight total shots, and was responsible for the Huskers' second goal of the afternoon as Peetz and Caniglia teamed up to ensure Nebraska would go home with its first Big 12 win of the season.
Just two minutes after Mills' diving save, Caniglia took a free kick from 30 yards out near the Husker bench, which Peetz headed into the top-right corner of the net to give Nebraska an important insurance goal en route to its sixth home victory of the year and third shutout in 2009.
Scouting the Oklahoma State Cowgirls
Oklahoma State (12-7-0, 5-5-0) enters the Big 12 Championship on a five-game winning streak. The Cowgirls ended the regular season with a 3-0 victory over Utah last Thursday after claiming victories in their last four conference games.
"Oklahoma State has a very good program and very good team," NU assistant coach Wally Crittenden said. "We probably played our best defensive game of the season against them in our last match. We have to do that and execute again to put ourselves in a position to get opportunities."
Oklahoma State was ranked No. 11 in the NSCAA preseason top 25 poll, but got off to a slow start with a 7-7 record through its first 14 games. That stretch included a 2-0 defeat at Nebraska on Oct. 4, as the Cowgirls started the league season with four of their first five conference games on the road.
Annika Neimeier is far and away Oklahoma State's most potent offensive player, as she leads the Cowgirls with nine goals and four assists. Five teammates are tied for the second-most goals with four each. Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 Conference in shutouts with 11.
Last year, the Cowgirls had their most successful season in school history, running to an 18-1-4 (7- 1-2) record en route to the Big 12 regular-season championship. The Cowgirls were ousted from the NCAA Tournament in the second round and finished the season ranked No. 13.
Oklahoma State's Colin Carmichael is in his fifth season as the Cowgirls' head coach and holds a 71-21-3 record. He was co-head coach with Karen Hancock in 2005 and 2006, when OSU began a run of three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Last year's 18-win campaign marked the most victories in school history and earned Carmichael 2008 Big 12 Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors.
Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship
Nebraska has enjoyed great success in the Big 12 Championship, which dates back to 1996. In the 10-year history of the tournament, NU has:
-Advanced to the semifinals nine times
-Advanced to the championship game six times
-Captured the title a league-leading five times
-Compiled a 17-7 all-time record
-Posted a league-best .708 winning percentage
A year-by-year look at the Huskers' Big 12 Championship success is listed below:
Year Record Result Last Game (Result)
1996 2-0 Champion Texas A&M (W, 1-0 2OT)
1997 1-1 Runner-Up Texas A&M (L, 1-3)
1998 2-0 Champion Missouri (W, 4-0)
1999 3-0 Champion Missouri (W, 2-1)
2000 3-0 Champion Texas A&M (W, 4-1)
2001 1-1 Semifinals Texas A&M (L, 2-3)
2002 3-0 Champion Texas A&M (W, 1-0)
2003 1-1 Semifinals Missouri (L, 2-3)
2004 0-1 First Round Texas (L, 0-2)
2005 1-1 Semifinals Texas A&M (L, 2-4)
2006 0-1 First Round Texas (L, 0-1 OT)
2007 Did not Qualify
2008 0-1 First Round Colorado (L, 0-1)
Big 12 Championship Records
Nebraska boasts a 17-7 all-time record in the Big 12 Championship, recording the second-most wins behind Texas A&M (19-8-2). The Huskers hold the top winning percentage at .708. Below is a breakdown of the all-time Big 12 Championship records of the eight teams competing in San Antonio this week:
All-Time Big 12 Championship Records
Nebraska 17-7-0 (.708)
Texas A&M 19-8-2 (.689)
Oklahoma State 6-3-2 (.636)
Missouri 11-10-1 (.522)
Texas 11-11-2 (.500)
Colorado 7-9-2 (.444)
Baylor 4-7-0 (.363)
Kansas 3-7-2 (.333)
Texas Tech 0-4-0 (.000)
Nebraska vs. Rest of the Big 12 Field
Nebraska went 3-3-1 in 2009 against the other seven teams that qualified for the Big 12 Championship. NU owns an impressive 81-41-5 all-time record against the field, including a 16-7 mark at the Big 12 Championship. Below is a breakdown of how NU has fared against the championship field this season, all-time and all-time at the Big 12 Championship.
Opponent 2009 All-Time All-Time Big 12 Championship
Baylor T, 1-1 (2OT) 12-5-1 4-0
at Colorado L, 0-1 7-6-2 0-1
at Kansas W, 7-4 14-3-2 3-0
at Missouri L, 0-5 15-3-0 3-1
Oklahoma State W, 2-0 10-4-0 0-0
at Texas L, 1-2 9-10-0 1-2
Texas A&M W. 2-1 14-11-0 5-3
Total 3-3-2 96-43-5 16-7
Huskers Send Off Sensational Senior Class With Memorable Victory
The 2009 Nebraska soccer senior class went out with a memorable victory in their last home game, defeating Iowa State, 2-1, in overtime on a game-winning goal by senior Lauren Isenhower. This year's class has a combined 227 starts since 2006, has scored nearly 60 goals and includes four team captains. Head coach John Walker described the group as "hard-working, good character, talented, great students who have represented the program, athletic department and university in the right ways."
The class has earned 31 spots on the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and nine Academic All-Big 12 awards. Lauren Isenhower is currently in graduate school at the University of Nebraska, while the other five are all on track to earn their undergraduate degrees.
Julie Berkshire (Omaha, Neb.) has enjoyed a breakout senior season. Appearing in 18 games, Berkshire had the game-winning assist in Nebraska's upset over Texas A&M on Oct. 18, just two days after she notched a goal against Texas. In her sophomore season, Berkshire scored twice in a 5-1 victory over St. Louis, with her first-career goal and assist coming as a freshman against Drake. A three-time member to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll, Berkshire has spent time working in the Nebraska Athletic Development Office while studying toward a degree in business administration. She plans to graduate this May.
Anna Caniglia (Omaha, Neb.) has started all 78 games of her career, the ninth-most on the Nebraska all-time charts. However, none were more memorable than Oct. 23 at Kansas, when she turned in the 26th hat trick in school history and added an assist for a career-best seven-point game. A traditional defender, Caniglia has transitioned to midfield this season and leads the Huskers with nine assists to go along with five goals. Academically, she has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll all six semesters and is a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection. She will earn her undergraduate degree in marketing this December.
Lauren Isenhower (Lenexa, Kan.) had her senior moment at the most opportune time, giving Nebraska its 2-1 win over Iowa State last Friday with a game-winning header in the 97th minute. Isenhower has played in all 19 games despite a knee injury sustained in 2006. She scored two goals in the home opener against Lamar, before back-to-back two-assist games versus Akron and South Dakota. As a freshman, Isenhower was one of the top newcomers on the team, starting 18 games and contributing two goals and three assists. A five-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll member and 2008 second-team academic All-Big 12 selection, Isenhower earned a bachelor's degree in international business last May, but has played her senior season while attending graduate school at Nebraska.
Brittney Lanier (Carrollton, Texas) has started 16 games during her career and made a remarkable comeback from a torn PCL injury to see playing time in her senior season. As a freshman in 2006, she scored two game-winning goals, while she has also posted one assist in Big 12 matches each of the past two years. Lanier has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll five times and is a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection. She is a religious studies and pre-nursing major and is on track to graduate next December.
Carly Peetz (Lincoln, Neb.) has started 78 consecutive games for the Huskers, the ninth-most starts in school history. A 2008 All-Big 12 selection, Peetz is one of the most successful and talented defenders in school history. She has career-high totals in 2009 with four goals and three assists, including scoring in games against Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas. Peetz was vital in Nebraska's upset over Missouri last year with three points on a goal and an assist. She is a six-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll member and two-time academic All-Big 12 selection. In April 2009, she was a recipient of Nebraska's Hero Award. Peetz plans to graduate next December with a degree in advertising.
Shay Powell (Dallas, Texas) led Nebraska in scoring as a sophomore and junior and has been one the Huskers' biggest offensive threats with 45 career points. She has started 52 games and been very strong in Big 12 action this season with three goals and one assist. Last year, Powell had three points in upsets over Kansas and Missouri, while also posting back-to-back two-goal games against UAB and Oakland. Powell has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll all six semesters and is a two-time academic All-Big 12 selection. She is a pre-law psychology major and will graduate next May.
Marlborough Ending Best Freshman Season in School History
Morgan Marlborough is wrapping up the best freshman campaign in school history and one of the best seasons overall by a Husker player in the 16-year tenure of the program.
Marlborough registered an assist in Nebraska's 2-1 overtime victory over Iowa State last Friday, a week after notching two assists in Nebraska's 7-4 win at Kansas to move into fifth place on the NU single-season point chart with 49. She already ranks in a tie for fourth in single-season goals with 21, trailing only Kim Essenger (27, 1998; 26, 1997) and Christine Latham (23, 2000), and has held at least a share of the NCAA goal lead since the first rankings were released Sept. 14.
Marlborough has garnered national recognition through her spectacular season, as she was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and one of College Soccer 360's 'Primetime Performers of the Week' following her clutch play in Nebraska's 2-1 upset over No. 14 Texas A&M on Oct. 18.
Marlborough increased her nation-leading goal total to 21 in the victory, as she scored both Husker goals, including the game-winner in the 82nd minute.
The Big 12 award was the third of the season for Marlborough, as she was also won offensive and newcomer honors on Sept. 15. Marlborough is just the third freshman in Big 12 history to win three awards in a season, joining Texas A&M's Ashlee Pistorius (three in 2004) and Colorado's Nikki Marshall (four in 2006). Her three awards in 2009 lead the conference.
College Soccer 360's 'Primetime Performers of the Week' are based on criteria that includes playing against top-25 teams or top-level opponents and players who are involved in clutch performances such as game-winning goals or late scores. Marlborough is the second Husker to be named one of College Soccer 360's 'Primetime Performers of the Week' this season after senior defender Carly Peetz earned the honor on Oct. 6.
Following a hat trick in Nebraska's 5-2 victory over Oklahoma on Oct. 11, Marlborough set the Nebraska freshman single-season goal record, previously held by both Lindsay Eddleman and Isabelle Morneau in 1996 with 17 goals each.
Marlborough's hat trick versus the Sooners was her second of the year, as the Lee's Summit, Mo., native tied the single-game school record with four goals against Akron on Sept. 18. Only 14 games into her freshman season, Marlborough became one of seven Huskers ever to produce multiple hat tricks in a career.
Aside from being tied for the national lead in goals (also Danielle Foxhaven, Portland), Marlborough is No. 2 in goals per game (1.167) and points (48), while ranking third in points per game (2.67).
Marlborough was voted Big 12 Offensive Player and Newcomer of the Week on Sept. 15 after she turned in six goals and two assists in wins over North Dakota (Sept. 11) and Akron (Sept. 13). It marked just the third time in Big 12 history that a player has earned two awards in the same week.
Aside from holding four nation-best marks, Marlborough's four-goal performance against Akron is tied for the best single-game performance in the Big 12 Conference this season. Colorado's Nikki Marshall matched Marlborough's four-goal game in the Buffs' 5-1 win over Oklahoma on Oct. 2.
Marlborough has scored a point in 13 of 19 games and has seven multiple-goal games, the seventh-most by a Nebraska player in program history. Her seven assists are tied for second on the team and tied for fifth in the Big 12 Conference.
Huskers Rank Third Nationally in Scoring
Nebraska has scored the third-most goals of any women's college soccer team in the NCAA this season, as it has 62 goals through 19 games to lead the Big 12 Conference. The Huskers trail only Portland (70) and Stanford (66).
Nebraska is averaging 3.26 goals per game (3rd NCAA) and has already scored the most goals by an NU team since 2001. The Huskers scored 45 times at home this fall, shattering the previous Nebraska Soccer Field season record of 26, which was set in both 2005 and 2006.
Nebraska's seven goals at Kansas on Oct. 23 were the most in a Big 12 game since an 8-1 win over Texas Tech on Oct. 28, 2001.
Nebraska's nine goals in a 9-0 victory over South Dakota on Sept. 18 are the most by a Big 12 team this season.
Caniglia Named to TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week
Senior Anna Caniglia was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Women's Team of the Week on Oct. 27 following her hat trick in Nebraska's 7-4 win at Kansas on Oct. 23. The Omaha, Neb., native was one of 11 players honored nationally by the website for her outstanding performance.
Caniglia scored three times on four shots and added an assist against the Jayhawks, while delivering one of the top highlights of the 2009 season on a bicycle kick in the box to put the Huskers ahead 4-2 in the 59th minute.
Starting her 76th consecutive game, Caniglia gave Nebraska a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute on a tough-angle shot near the sideline, before contributing her final goal with 11 minutes remaining on a low shot that beat KU goalkeeper Kat Liebetrau to the far post. The senior finished the day with seven points, as she also assisted on Carly Peetz's score with 15 minutes remaining.
Caniglia is the ninth non-forward to register a hat trick in school history and just the 15th Husker player to do so overall.
Peetz Honored as One of CS360's "Primetime Performers of the Week"
Senior defender Carly Peetz was rewarded for her strong defense and clutch effort as she was named one of College Soccer 360's "Primetime Performers of the Week" following her role in Nebraska's wins over Green Bay and Oklahoma State on Oct. 2-4.
Peetz was the lone defender among the 18 players nationally recognized after she helped lead the Huskers to a 2-0 shutout against defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma State with a goal in the 78th minute.
Peetz's goal came on a header following a free kick by Anna Caniglia from 30 yards away.
Defensively, it was just the third time this season that the Cowgirls have been held scoreless, as Peetz and the Nebraska backline allowed OSU to take only eight total shots.
College Soccer 360's "Primetime Performers of the Week" are based on criteria that includes playing against top-25 teams or top-level opponents and players who are involved in clutch performances such as game-winning goals or late scores.
Peetz, Caniglia Reach All-Time Top 10 for Career Starts
Senior defenders Carly Peetz and Anna Caniglia have reached the Nebraska top-10 list for career starts, as each has started 78 games in their Husker careers. More impressive, however, is that Peetz and Caniglia have done so in a consecutive streak from 2006 to 2009.
The seniors are two of the most consistent and important players the NU soccer program has ever seen. On the field, the duo has helped the Huskers hold opponents to 1.58 goals per game this year.
Perhaps even more impressive has been the offensive production. Peetz has a career-high 11 points this season, including one of the biggest goals of her career against Oklahoma State on Oct. 4, as Peetz headed in a free kick from Caniglia to wrap up Nebraska's 2-0 victory. Caniglia is tie for second in the Big 12 with nine assists, including possibly her biggest of the season in Nebraska's win over Texas A&M when her free kick led to the Huskers' first goal. Caniglia also has a career-high five goals this season, matching her previous three-year total combined.
Thomas Continues to Lead Offensively, Pressure Defenses
Sophomore Molly Thomas has emerged as one of Nebraska's best offensive players in recent history. The Omaha, Neb., native has eight goals and eight assists (23 points) this season, including one of the best games of her career last Friday when she scored the game-tying goal and then contributed the game-winning assist in Nebraska's 2-1 win over Iowa State. She also had a solid two-game stretch Oct. 9-11 when she produced an assist in each of Nebraska's contests against Baylor and Oklahoma.
Thomas' offensive prowess is evident even when it does not show up in the statistics. Following Nebraska's 2-1 victory over Texas A&M, Morgan Marlborough credited Thomas' aggressiveness and speed for putting the Huskers in position to score. Against Kansas, Thomas had one goal and one assist. She has scored a point in four of the last seven games.
A member of the 2008 Big 12 All-Newcomer team, Thomas turned in a career-best two-goal, two-assist game in Nebraska's 9-0 win against South Dakota on Sept.18.
Freshmen See Playing Time in First Year with Huskers
Freshman Jordan Jackson and Marlborough have played in all 19 games this season, starting 13 contests and scoring five goals on 44 shots, while also tallying three assists. Freshman Bri Exstrom saw her first game action of the 2009 season against South Dakota on Sept. 18 and made the most of her opportunity by notching a goal in the 82nd minute. The freshman class was responsible for four of Nebraska's five goals in the win over Oklahoma on Oct. 11 and has 27 on the season (Marlborough-21, Jackson-5, Exstrom-1).
Nebraska has high hopes for its freshman class, which includes goalkeeper Emma Stevens, forward/midfielder Stacy Bartels, defender/midfielder Taylor Houck and defender Bri Badje.
Review: Isenhower's Overtime Header Lifts Huskers Over Cyclones, 2-1
Despite a second-half deficit in cold and rainy weather conditions, Nebraska would not be denied on 2009 Senior Day, as Lauren Isenhower's header in the 97th minute broke a 1-1 tie and sent the Huskers away with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over Iowa State on Oct. 30.
Isenhower was one of six Husker seniors playing her last home game and came up with the biggest play of her career, as the win concluded Nebraska's regular season with an 11-4-4 record, the best mark by a Husker team since 2005.
It also marked the fifth overtime game this season for Nebraska, but the first extra-period victory after the Huskers had tied the previous four contests. Isenhower's game-winning goal - her first since she scored twice against Lamar on Sept. 4 - earned Nebraska the No. 4 seed in the Big 12 Championship, as NU finished the conference season with a 5-3-2 record.
Isenhower's goal came off a cross from sophomore Molly Thomas in the far corner. Thomas gave Nebraska an opportunity for the win as she scored her eighth goal of the season in the 72nd minute, just nine minutes after Iowa State took a 1-0 lead on a Mary Kate McLaughlin header off a free kick.
Thomas' goal came as the result of an Anna Caniglia corner kick, which was flicked by freshman Morgan Marlborough before Thomas gained control on the right side of the box and sent in the equalizer.
Nebraska and Iowa State were scoreless through the first half, although the Huskers nearly scored on two shots off the post from Marlborough and Peetz. NU finished the game with a 20-10 advantage in shots, including a 7-3 edge in shots on goal.