The Nebraska soccer team dropped its second straight game Friday night at Barbara Hibner Soccer Stadium, falling 2-0 to the Clemson Tigers.
Nebraska (0-2) brought the game to the visitors early in the first half, as senior midfielder Brenna Ochoa played a perfect through ball to freshman forward Emma Marcus thirty seconds into the game. Marcus was unable to get the ball past Clemson’s freshman goalkeeper Hannah McLaughlin, but it was a sign the Huskers wanted to take the game to a team that was an NCAA Tournament participant in 2018.
“We really tried to hone in on putting the other team under pressure, making them play our style and enforcing it on them,” senior goalkeeper Aubrei Corder said. “We wanted to get rid of some stress and give the back line some time to relax and get in the game.”
The Huskers’ early dominance received a huge boost in the 14th minute when Clemson senior forward Julie Mackin received a red card for violent contact with a Nebraska player while the ball was out of play. As a result, the Tigers could only play with ten players for the remaining 75 minutes.
Clemson continued to feel the pressure from the Huskers throughout the remainder of the first half. Senior forward Savanah Uveges was disruptive down the right side of the field, playing through balls and running in behind the Tigers’ defense. Senior midfielder Meg Brandt added three shots in an attempt to break the tie.
However, the Huskers were unable to find any quality chances and the two teams remained deadlocked at halftime.
The second half saw more of the same for Nebraska: a majority of possession but no quality chances to show for it. Sophomore defender Ashley Zugay played a couple of dangerous crosses into the box in the opening minutes of the second half, but nobody could provide the finishing touch.
Clemson (3-0) continued to hang around and weather the storm. Halfway through the second half they found their opportunity to get forward and counter-attack Nebraska’s defense. The Tigers’ first attacking moments of the second half came in the 62nd minute when freshman forward Maliah Morris hit the post on an 18-yard strike.
After Corder made a big save one minute later, Clemson took the lead when freshman defender Harper White settled the ball in the box from a corner kick and lobbed the ball over Corder’s head into the side netting. Clemson dominated the game from there on out, and freshman midfielder Caroline Conti iced the game in the 84th minute with a right-footed strike to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Nebraska was not only unable to find a goal in the waning minutes, but also failed to take advantage of being a player up. Despite controlling the ball for the majority of the game, the Huskers couldn’t take advantage of the quality chances they received.
“Today we had a lot of chances to finish up top, myself in particular—and it just fell through the cracks,” Uveges said. “When we get those big chances we can’t let them slip and that’s something that I did and that’s something we need to clean up going forward.”
Despite the result, the team did improve on its first performance of the season—a 4-0 drubbing against Kansas on August 22nd. The Huskers will look to build on tonight’s performance on Sunday against the Baylor Bears at 7:05 at Barbara Hibner Soccer Stadium. The Bears, an Elite Eight participant last year, look to be a formidable opponent—but the Huskers are up for the challenge.
“Baylor’s going to be another good team which is what we like,” Uveges said. “We don’t like easy games, we like to be tested and push ourselves every game because we know that’s going to make us better and prepare us for the Big Ten.”