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Three Takeaways From Nebraska Soccer’s Shutout Win Over Minnesota

by Oct 15, 2023Nebraska Soccer

Nebraska Cornhuskers Sarah Weber (42) on the attack against Maryland Terrapins defender Katie Coyle (9) in the second half during a college soccer match Thursday, October 12, 2023, in Lincoln, Neb. Photo by John S. Peterson.

Nebraska soccer won its fourth straight match on Sunday, shutting out Minnesota 2-0.

The Huskers scored once in each half, getting on the board 16 minutes in and extending the lead early in the second half. Much of the final 45 minutes was spent defending that advantage, as 11 of Minnesota’s 16 shots came in that time. Here are three takeaways from the win.

Husker Hot Streaks Continue

Nebraska last won four straight Big Ten games in 2018, when the team started conference play undefeated at 4-0-2 before ending the regular season 1-3-1. That winning streak included a few overtime games, which are no longer possible due to NCAA rule changes since then.

You’d have to go back to the 2013 team, which won the conference, to find four straight regulation Big Ten victories. Simply put, the Huskers haven’t seen all that many stretches of play like this one.

On an individual level, Nebraska’s top players continued to shine. Eleanor Dale and Florence Belzile switched their typical roles, with the former earning an assist as she helped set up the latter for a score.

Sarah Weber scored her ninth goal of the season as well.

With two games left before the conference tournament, it’s a good time for the Huskers to be playing at their best.

Nebraska’s Defensive Aggressiveness Pays Off

This game also marked Nebraska’s second shutout win, after not having one in conference play previously.

Maryland still has yet to score against a Big Ten foe, and Minnesota isn’t an especially dangerous offensive squad either, but the performances have been impressive regardless. The Huskers have put constant pressure on their opponents and often defended well in and around their own box. Just two of the Gophers’ 16 shots were on target.

Vulnerabilities still have shown, as both Minnesota and Maryland missed a number of good looks that a better foe might convert. The Huskers also commit the third-most fouls per game.

Nebraska might not be one of the top defensive teams in the conference, but it certainly has shown an ability to frustrate opponents on that end. It’ll finish out the regular season against two more subpar offensive sides, so whether the team can keep this up will be worth watching.

Standings Implications

The Huskers entered today in a three-way tie for third in the Big Ten standings with Indiana and Michigan State.

Along with that, they were a point behind Wisconsin. Both the Hoosiers and Spartans won, but the Badgers lost, dropping them to fifth. No. 4 Penn State holds first place, but lost a bit of ground after playing to a draw against Northwestern.

As a result, the regular season conference title is up for grabs entering the final two games. The Nittany Lions are surely still the favorite, but they finish out their schedule against Indiana and Wisconsin. Nebraska is the only team out of the top five which does not play another team currently in the eight-team conference tournament field.

Even if the Huskers can’t finish first in the standings, they have clinched a Big Ten Tournament berth and have a favorable path toward a top-four spot and playing their first-round game at home. After that, the semifinals and championship will be played in Columbus, Ohio.

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