After a promising start to the season, the Nebraska soccer team is now on an eight game winless streak, the most recent being Sunday's 3-2 loss to the No. 16 Michigan Wolverines.
The Huskers’ problem this season doesn’t tend to be chance creation, unlike previous years, and the team showed off its attacking ability against Michigan. The team dominated the shot charts, managing 21 to the Wolverines’ 10, and Nebraska’s volume in shooting paid off early.
In the 28th minute, senior forward Reagan Raabe received the ball deep inside the Michigan 18-yard box, with defenders surrounding her. Despite two members of Michigan’s back line crowding her, Raabe managed a feint before feeding the ball closer to the goal mouth, just in front of goal.
Once there, freshman forward Abbey Schwarz found space between the left back and left center back, with the Bennington, Nebraska native able to turn the ball into what was essentially an empty net.
The team celebrated together. After all, its domination showed no signs of slowing down, but things would turn around quickly thereafter.
First, sophomore goalkeeper Sami Hauk failed to properly clear a punch off of a Michigan cross, the ball landing at Michigan senior midfielder Raleigh Loughman’s feet. From there, she took a touch before lancing the ball into the top left corner of the goal.
Despite Hauk recovering in time to put herself between the ball and the goal, the ball couldn’t be stopped from the moment it left Loughman’s boot. The equalizer was scored only five minutes after Nebraska took the lead.
Unfortunately for the Huskers, they couldn’t calm down the game. Only a few minutes after the equalizer, Nebraska gave a foul away in the box. In the ensuing penalty, Hauk traveled far off her line even before the ball was kicked, but it didn’t matter.
Junior forward Dani Wolfe buried it in the top left corner, with Hauk left to stare after guessing the wrong way. In the space of 10 minutes, a joyous 1-0 Nebraska match turned into a 2-1 Michigan lead.
The Huskers, despite their confidence and attacking flair, were unable to defend at the other end the few chances Michigan did create on the game.
Nebraska looked deflated heading into the locker room at halftime, and this resembles itself in the box score. Whereas the Huskers hit 13 shots in the first, they would only notch another eight for the rest of the game.
With the score down 2-1, there was still the chance of a Nebraska equalizer, but those hopes were dashed in the 64th minute.
Michigan senior defender Sydney Shepherd, playing as a right back, lofted a ball downfield to sophomore forward Sammi Woods. Nebraska senior defender Ashley Zugay gambled on the ball, but missed it entirely, leaving Woods free on the right wing entering the box.
Senior defender Grace Brown attempted a last ditch tackle to keep Woods from sending the ball back into the Nebraska box, but that failed too. Woods danced past the veteran defender and had the ball free near the goalpost. From there, she crossed it to Loughman, who hit her second of the game and extended Michigan’s lead to 3-1.
The Huskers still had a chance to send the game to overtime were it to score two clear goals in the last 26 minutes of play, but the first goal wouldn’t come until the 85th minute. Freshman midfielder Jordan Zade worked a long throw in routine, one which landed at the feet of the goalscorer Schwarz.
From there, Schwarz bounced the ball into sophomore forward Eleanor Dale, who dispatched it. The goal came too late, but it was another goal for Dale, who is now up to five on the season after 14 games.
Nebraska looks to snap its winless streak next against Iowa on Oct. 14th at 7:05 p.m. The match will be played at Hibner Stadium and televised on the Big Ten Network.