Champaign, Ill. – The Nebraska soccer program added a second 2013 Big Ten Conference trophy to its mantle on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Iowa to claim its first Big Ten Tournament Championship. Jaycie Johnson's penalty kick goal in the 30th minute was the difference as the Huskers locked up both the regular-season and tournament titles for the fourth time in school history and for the first time since 2000.
Johnson, who leads NU with 13 goals, earned a penalty kick chance in the 30th minute after an excellent through ball from junior Mayme Conroy. The speedy freshman converted on the ensuing penalty kick opportunity, beating the Iowa keeper to the right side with a powerful shot to give NU the 1-0 edge. The score was the first allowed by Iowa in four matches and was enough to clinch the tournament crown.
The Nebraska defense had a tough tasks on its hands as Iowa outshot the Huskers by a 16-11 margin. However, NU allowed just three shots on goal while putting up four attempts on target. Jordan Jackson led the Big Red with five attempts.
Ari Romero, Kylie Greischar, Mayme Conroy, Jordan Jackson and Maritza Hayes each played the full 90 minutes for Nebraska. Sunday's clean sheet was the seventh shutout of the year for NU as the Huskers held Iowa scoreless for the first time in 2013.
Senior goalkeeper Emma Stevens, who also worked the entire 90, made three stops in the title battle and made some excellent touches late in the match to avoid the equalizer en route to her 18th win of the year. The victory for the Corona, Calif., native was the 36th of her career.
The 18th-ranked Huskers (18-3-1) are on a season-best nine-game win streak and have won 16 of their last 17 matches for the first time since 2002, when NU ran off 22 wins in its first 23 matches. NU has now scored in 18 consecutive matches, its longest streak since 2000, when Nebraska scored in its first 23 contests. The 18 victories are also NU's most since 2000.
In a brief ceremony following the title celebration, Jackson, Romero and Johnson were all named to the 2013 Big Ten All-Tournament Team. Johnson was selected Offensive Player the Tournament, while Romero was named Defensive Player of the Tournament.
The Huskers appeared in a conference tournament championship match for the seventh time, improving to 6-1 in such matches. The Big Ten Tournament title was a first in school history, while Nebraska registered its first conference tournament title since winning the 2002 Big 12 Tournament. The 2013 tournament title is the 10th conference championship for Head Coach John Walker after starting the NU soccer program 20 years ago. Nebraska has captured regular-season titles in 1996, 1999, 2000 and now 2013, while taking home tournament titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2013.
Nebraska will now await its NCAA Tournament draw, after earning the Big Ten's automatic berth on Sunday. The field of 64 will be revealed on Monday at 3:30 p.m. with the NCAA Selection Show streamed live on NCAA.com.
2013 Big Ten Soccer All-Tournament Team
Illinois forward Jannelle Flaws
Indiana midfielder Kayleigh Steigerwalt
Michigan midfielder Tori McCombs
Minnesota forward Simone Kolander
Wisconsin forward Rose Lavelle
Penn State goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom
Iowa defender Melanie Pickert
Iowa goalkeeper Hannah Clark
Nebraska defender Ari Romero
Nebraska forward Jordan Jackson
Nebraska forward Jaycie Johnson
Defensive Player of the Tournament: Ari Romero, Nebraska
Offensive Player of the Tournament: Jaycie Johnson, Nebraska
Big Ten Champion