Husker Soccer Stuns #14 Denver!

Eric Francis

Nebraska had second half goals from Katie Kraeutner and Jaycie Johnson on route to a huge upset over Denver.

First Half

The match kicked off under a beautiful blue sky at the Nebraska Soccer Field.  After battling a knee injury, defender Maritza Hayes made her first appearance in the Husker starting lineup this afternoon.  She replaced Hannah Dittmar in the only starting lineup change from Thursday’s match.  The Huskers created the first big chance of the match in the 3rd minute when Stacy Bartels took a pass from Jaycie Johnson on the right wing and floated a shot that just grazed the crossbar.

The Huskers came close again in the 6th minute when a dangerous cross by Stacy Bartels was cleared away for a corner kick.  Nebraska put a lot of pressure on the Denver players early on forced some errant passes that were easily gobbled up in the midfield.  In the 12th minute, Ari Romero made a key interception and sprayed a ball into the box that went wide of the left post.  Katie Kraeutner got in on the action when she set up a pass for Jaycie Johnson and her first chance of the game bounced just right of the post in the 16th minute.

Denver’s first chance of the half came in the 23rd minute as Francesca Garzelloni put a through ball behind the Husker defense but keeper Emma Stevens was there to snatch up the ball just in front of leading goal scorer Kristen Hamilton.  In the 28th minute, Mayme Conroy made a beautiful turn on the right wing and made a charge on goal only to have her shot attempt blocked by Pioneer defender Jessy Battelli.

The best Husker chance in the first half came in the 32nd minute when Caroline Gray sent a pass to the left wing for Samantha Areman who thumped in a low cross that was deflected on goal by Jaycie Johnson and blocked by keeper Cassidy Rey.  The teams went into halftime still scoreless. Denver really struggled to get into a rhythm throughout the first half while Nebraska did really well to fight back for misplaced balls and regain possession.

Second Half

Denver started off brightly in the second half when an early corner in the 47th minute led to a scramble in the box and quick shot by Kristen Hamilton which was cleared off the line by Nebraska to keep the game scoreless!  Nebraska first chance of the half came three minutes when as Jordan Jackson weaved her way into the box but could not get a strong enough shot off to challenge the keeper.

Denver immediately countered with a chance of their own by a shot by Nikki Pappalardo was comfortably saved by Emma Stevens.  Pappalardo had another chance for the P in the 52nd minute but her long range drive was handled by Stevens.  Nebraska came close to making it 1-0 in the 56th minute when a booming cross by Kylie Greischar was headed on goal by Stacy Bartels but keeper Cassidy Rey made an excellent save to deflect it off the crossbar for a corner.  In the 69th minute, another Greischar cross was controlled by Sydney Miramontez but her shot was deflected out by Denver for a corner.

The Pioneers finally broke the deadlock in the 74rd minute.  Kristen Hamilton made a run into the box and dribbled beyond a couple Husker defenders before firing a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal.  The Huskers were able to respond almost immediately when Jordan Jackson crossed it in for Katie Kraeutner who slid it past Cassidy Rey to knot things up just 15 seconds later!

Nebraska took the lead in the 79th minute after Mayme Conroy fought back to regain possession of the ball and passed it back to Samantha Areman on the left wing who put in a perfect cross for Jaycie Johnson who smashed a header into the net!  The Huskers began to sit farther back after the goal and Denver piled on the pressure with a couple of chances for Jessy Batelli but the ladies held on for a massive 2-1 victory over the Pioneers.  What an excellent team performance by the Huskers to pull off the upset!

Post-Game Notes

-Husker midfielders Stacy Bartels and Jordan Jackson had excellent performances today by creating a lot of goal scoring chances as well as tracking back to defend well and win back the ball in their own half.

-Jaycie Johnson can’t stop scoring!  Johnson’s game winning goal today was her 7th of the season which showcased her heading ability despite only standing 5 feet 6 inches.  Expect this true freshman to keep lighting up the scoreboard this season.

-Samantha Areman and Kylie Greischar were excellent throughout the match by creating a lot of scoring chances through dangerous crosses from the left wing.

-The Huskers dominated the first half with a lot of scoring chances but both teams played well in the second half and created a lot of chances which made it a really exciting match for the fans in attendance!  Nebraska finished the match with 13 shots with 3 on target while Denver had 10 shots with 5 on target.

Husker fans packed the Nebraska Soccer Field for the team's annual Pepsi Pack the House promotion and they went home happy!

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