Huskers Open NCAA Tournament with 2-0 Win

By NU Athletic Communications
Kori Saunders led the Huskers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with one goal and one assist.
Kori Saunders led the Huskers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with one goal and one assist.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Villanova, Pa. ? The No. 17 Nebraska soccer team (15-5-3) dropped Hartford, 2-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Villanova, Pa.  The win marks the seventh-straight year the Huskers have advanced past the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


The Huskers got off to a great start when Christine Latham scored the game-winning goal on a Kori Saunders assist just 1:07 into the game.


"I think we played good," Latham said.  "I think we did what we needed to do to get the result.  We played well and now we are on to round two.  I think our whole team put in a good effort and got two goals."


Hartford had their chances in the first half, taking 10 shots in the first period to Nebraska's three.  NU's only shot on goal of the half was Latham's goal.  The Huskers had a few chances, but could not convert.


Husker goalkeeper Erin Miller recorded four saves in the first half, compared to zero saves for HU's Heather Hinton.


"It wasn't our greatest performance," Coach John Walker said.  "We are still struggling a little bit with fatigue from last week, but at this stage it isn't about aesthetics, it is about results.  We scored in the first two minutes and I thought Hartford outplayed us in the first half.  In the second half they had more shots, but we were more composed."


The Hawks had two solid scoring chances with 15 minutes left in the contest, with Tini Lyng missing just left and Jeanette Akerlund getting a shot off from inside the box that Miller made a great save on, teetering with the goal line.


Saunders turned the Hawks away when she got behind the defense at the 77:39 mark to chip in a shot to put the game away.  She got the ball off a Hartford defender and fought through a scramble in the box.


"I think we started really well today, and once we got ahead the effort kind of dropped," Saunders said. "We didn't play our best game today, but the most important thing is that we got the win.  We put one in at the end to kill their momentum, but we won and now all we have to think about is the next game."


For the contest, Nebraska was outshot, 19-7, but was only down by three shots on goal, 7-4, for the game.  Miller wrapped up her 13th shutout of the season with seven saves on the game, compared to Hinton's two.


NU was outcornered for only the third time this season, 6-2.  Once again, the defense played well, and helped sustain the Husker offense.


Nebraska will take on Yale after they upset the host team Villanova in the first game of the day in penalty kicks, 4-2.  The Huskers face the Bulldogs at 12 p.m. (CST) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  Yale is 12-4-2 and received its first NCAA bid after winning 11 games in the regular season.


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