Nebraska stuns #16 Penn State In Double Overtime

Jamie Squire

Freshman Jaycie Johnson notched two goals including an amazing winning goal in overtime to put Nebraska in the driver's seat to win a Big Ten title.

First Half

The match kicked off on another beautiful afternoon at the Nebraska Soccer Field for Kick or Treat Day.  Instead of coming out in their traditional home white jerseys, the team wore alternate all black jerseys for this big match.  An early Husker giveaway left Mallory Weber one on one with keeper Emma Stevens in the 4th minute and Stevens came up with a huge stop on Weber's powerful shot with no big rebound.  After suffering a bruised thigh in the Ohio State match, Stevens appeared to be back to full health after that excellent save.

Nebraska has their first chance off a corner in the 10th minute when a Mayme Conroy flicked a header to Jordan Jackson who didn't get enough power on her header which was comfortably saved by Penn State keeper Britt Eckerstrom.  There was a lot of action on both sides of the field early on with both teams getting lots of balls inside the penalty area with their fluid passing style.  In the 16th minute, Caroline Gray got in on the action with a big run onto the ball from outside the box but her shot was too powerful and sailed over the crossbar.

In the 25th minute leading goal scorer Maya Hayes got a jump on Ari Romero and made a mazy run into the box eluding defenders but her low shot on goal was cleared off the line by Samantha Areman.  It was a truly excellent defensive effort by the Husker defender to keep the match scoreless!  A couple minutes Maya Hayes had another chance when she got her head on the edge of a nice cross but the ball went inches wide of the right post!

Maya Hayes had another scoring chance with seconds left in the half with a curling shot headed for the top corner but Emma Stevens was equal to the task and tipped the shot over the bar at time expired.  Despite the score line, both teams played exciting soccer in the first half creating plenty of scoring chances.  Both teams had six shots apiece in the first half but Penn State have four shots on target compared to just one shot on target for Nebraska.

Second Half

Penn State opened the second half with an early free kick just outside the box and they took advantage.  Raquel Rodriguez tapped the ball to Emily Hurd who stopped the ball to set it up for Whitney Church who smashed it into the net for a goal in the 47th minute.  The free kick was very well set up by Penn State and Emma Stevens really did not have any chance of saving the shot.  In the 53rd minute, Ari Romero floated in a beautiful cross that was headed into the net by Jaycie Johnson but the goal was called back because the team was offside.  Penn State dodged a huge bullet. Penn State began to sit back a bit more and soak up the Nebraska pressure as they were going for an equalizer.

In the 64th minute, executed some excellent dribbling skills past a Penn State defender before unleashing a shot that whistled by the post.  With under 25 minutes to go, Penn State had the ball in the back of the net after a corner kick but the referee disallowed the goal because of a Penn State foul on Emma Stevens.  The action began to open up again for both teams after disallowed goal and the Huskers got a break.  After a series of quick passing movements in the 75th minute, Ari Romero put in another beautiful cross into the penalty area took one big bounce and was headed down into the bottom corner of the net.  The goal counted this time and the Huskers evened things up at 1-1.

The Huskers continued to control the midfield and put the pressure on the Penn State defense.  In the 83rd minute, Jordan Jackson knocked down a pass on the right wing and began dribbling into the penalty area.  She unleashed a powerful shot with her left foot that was saved by Britt Eckerstrom but Jaycie Johnson was right there to pounce on the rebound and bundle a shot into the net.  The Huskers came back to take a 2-1 lead.

Penn State almost scored immediately after this after a scramble for the ball in the box came to Taylor Schram who controlled it and struck a powerful that shook the crossbar.  The Huskers caught a break Penn State suddenly had all the momentum.  Penn State breached the Husker defense in the 89th minute when Brittany Basinger chipped in a ball from just outside the box and Maya Hayes was able to beat the offside trap and head the ball past Emma Stevens to make it 2-2.  The match finished tied after 90 minutes of play which meant two 10 minute periods of sudden death overtime were on the menu in this thrilling conference matchup.

Overtime

The game continued at a really fast clip in overtime and Jaycie Johnson almost ended things two minutes into overtime but her chip shot bounced off the post and into the hands of Britt Eckerstrom.  Two minutes later a long ball floated over the heads of the Penn State defenders into the path of Jordan Jackson but her shot went wide of the right post.  The Huskers definitely came out firing in the first overtime period.  Mallory Weber had the first chance for Penn State seven minutes into overtime but her shot went well wide.  A minute later with the Huskers on the attack, a Samantha Areman was flicked on goal by Mayme Conroy but Britt Eckerstrom made an excellent double save on the header and follow up rebound from Conroy.  Taylor Schram almost ended things with one minute to go in the first overtime but her booming shot inside the penalty area was parried away by Emma Stevens.

The score was still 2-2 as the whistle was blown for a quick break before the second overtime began.  Penn State had an early corner in the second overtime but after a scramble in the box it was collected by Emma Stevens.  She unleashed a long throw to set up Jaycie Johnson on the counterattack at the halfway line.  Johnson collected the ball and made a mazy run through the midfield eluding three Penn State defenders and unleashed a low sizzling shot from outside the penalty box that rippled the bottom left corner of the net!  The ladies piled on top of Jaycie Johnson near midfield after she scored the match winner 2:55 into double overtime!  What a thrilling way to end the match!

Post-Game Notes

-This is probably the most exciting women's college soccer game I have watched in a long time.  Both teams play a very attractive brand of soccer and have plenty of talented players to implement this positive style of play.

-Jaycie Johnson is a future soccer star in the making.  Johnson's amazing run leading to her game winning goal showcased her excellent pace and technical ability which makes her such a huge threat to opposing players.

-Penn State outshout Nebraska 18-16 in the match and had eight shots on target to Nebraska's six shots.  Emma Stevens continue to increase her all-time saves record at Nebraska increasing her total count to 254.

-Nebraska still controls their own destiny in the Big Ten title race.  They currently sit a top the Big Ten Conference Standings with 24 points and a 9-1 conference record.  A win in their last regular season match against Indiana would assure them the regular season title and the #1 seed going into the Big Ten tournament next month in Champaign, Illinois.

GO BIG RED!!!

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