Soccer vs Western Illinois

Nebraska's Olivia Brown (22) prepares to kick the ball in their game against Western Illinois at Hibner Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

The Nebraska women's soccer team kicked off its 2021 season with a 3-0 win over Western Illinois.

Nebraska boasted 22 total shots against its Summit League foe with 12 falling on target, as its attack led the way in the season opener.

The Huskers were led by sophomore forward Reagan Raabe, who was able to find the back of the net twices. She first slotted one home in the 13th minute as the Huskers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead thanks to the assist provided by freshman forward Abbey Schwarz. 

Raabe secured her brace in the second half in the 53rd minute off of an assist from freshman midfielder Jordan Zade.

“It was definitely good to grab those three goals but I think we had a lot of opportunities and we will have to work on our finishing to put more of those away,” Raabe said postgame. “We work a lot on one-on-one duels along with the long balls so that we don’t ever rely too heavily on one aspect.”

In between Rabbe’s brace, freshman midfielder/forward Allison Napora grabbed the Huskers other goal in the 41st minute, using her anticipation to strike home a rebound chance into the corner of the goal. 

The goal highlighted an impressive debut performance for Napora’s Husker career. t. Furthermore, the effort came off an assist from freshman forward Sarah Weber, who knocked the ball back into Napora’s path allowing her to take on the shot first-time putting it in the back of the net. 

“I can’t even put it into words. I was just so glad I was able to find the back of the net,” Napora said postgame. “It can be scary walking in here just finishing high school so it can be intimidating but [Nebraska head coach John] Walker’s belief in us helps us so much and gives us the confidence that we need going forward to be successful.”

While the attacking force of the Huskers stole the show, the defense had a very solid day as well. Western Illinois was unable to match Nebraska’s attacking as it logged seven shots compared to Nebraska’s 22 and had only four on goal compared to the Huskers’ 12. Husker sophomore goalkeeper Sami Hauk was able to register the clean sheet between the sticks as both she and the defense were solid throughout the match. 

The Huskers will hit the road following Thursday night’s match to face Missouri, Baylor and Oklahoma, as they look to use momentum from this match against a trio of former Big 12 foes.

“It was huge with how difficult the last few years have been starting off the season with COVID and injuries so it felt great to get out and have an overall performance like that right away,” Napora said. “We have Missouri this weekend followed by Baylor and Oklahoma and Baylor is on a list in the locker room of teams we haven’t beat so that game is especially one that we are looking to get what we need done and hopefully put together a win.” 

First up in Nebraska’s road stretch is Missouri. The sides are slated to battle on Sunday, Aug. 22 at 3:00 p.m. on ESPN+.