After a 4-0 shut out against Southern Methodist University on Friday, the No. 13 Husker soccer team looked to pick up where it left off on Sunday but was unsuccessful, losing to DePaul 2-1.
The Blue Demons came out aggressive, controlling the pace of the game for a majority of the first half that had the Huskers’ defense on its heels. Junior DePaul forward Elise Wyatt caused a lot of havoc as she accounted for two of DePaul’s six shots on goal in the first half alone. Wyatt scored at the 15:06 mark as she took a shot inside the 18-yard box that bounced off the horizontal crossbar where she then followed her shot to put it through.
“We need to work on our back line and being more together,” sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Schatz said. “We were creating gaps that normally aren’t there.”
DePaul’s time of possession and constant attack had the midfielders and forwards constantly back.
“We didn’t have a lot of numbers in the box,” sophomore forward Jaycie Johnson said. “It was like four against two or one against two.”
DePaul’s defense kept the Huskers from expanding their pass space and swarmed in twos and threes when an individual Husker midfielder or forward had the ball or made a run.
“We were kind of forcing it up the middle a lot,” Johnson said. “We weren’t really playing our game where we have a built attack where we go out wide to get the crosses and behind.”
The Huskers were blanked in the first half. DePaul outshot the Huskers six to two in the first half. The team came out reenergized in the second half though as the ball was played more on the Blue Demons’ side of the field than the Huskers’ half but they struggled to get numbers for spacing.
Senior forward Mayme Conroy and Johnson made aggressive runs when the ball was played forward but were stonewalled as the Blue Demons got them off the ball.
While the Huskers were already playing catch up, DePaul’s sophomore forward Abby Reid beat Schatz with quick dribbling and tapped it from two yards out in the 84th minute.
“The plan was to get the ball, but if I can get her wide I tried to recover straight back and get it,” Schatz said. “And then if she gets down the middle, I’m toast. If she gets wide, I still have a shot,”
The late, second goal intensified the Huskers’ sense of urgency as Johnson received a swift, sharp pass from sophomore midfielder Caroline Finn and tapped it in with her right foot in the 89th minute.
With a minute to spare, the Huskers had an opportunity at the end but were unable to cash in on a low, hard roller that went wide right.
“We just weren’t as together as we were on Friday,” Schatz said when reflecting on the Huskers’ loss. “I don’t think we played bad, we just had a couple not very good plays where we weren’t doing what we were supposed to.”
The Blue Demons outshot the Huskers nine to five and had four corner kicks to the Huskers’ five that contributed to the opportunities for creating offense.
“We just need to go back in Tuesday and look at everything we did wrong and evaluate what we did wrong,” Schatz said.
The Huskers’ next game is Friday at home against Butler.