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MU allows three unanswered goals in 3-2 loss to Nebraska

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The Marquette women’s soccer team played a strong first 65 minutes Sunday afternoon, but when the final whistle sounded, the Golden Eagles had allowed three unanswered goals and fell to Nebraska 3-2.

Marquette (1-3) played its third straight Big Ten team, and opened the game with two solid scoring chances within the first three minutes. The Golden Eagles’ attack set the tone for the first half, which saw Marquette dominate in possession and scoring chances.

In the 14th minute, Nebraska committed a foul and gave Marquette a free kick just inches from inside the 18′ box. Junior midfielder Jacie Jermier took the free kick and bent the ball into the upper left corner of the goal to give the team a 1-0 lead.

After the goal, Marquette continued the pressure in the offensive zone and didn’t give Nebraska many chances. However, Nebraska started to play the more physical game most Big Ten teams play. Hannah Handwork was given a yellow card in the 36th minute, and three minutes later, Cornhusker freshman Haley Hanson was also booked.

In between both cards, Nebraska got its best chance of the half when a forward headed a cross that looked like it was bound for the far corner of the goal. However, it bounced off the post, maintaining Marquette’s 1-0 lead.

The end of the first was relatively uneventful, and the Golden Eagles carried their 1-0 lead into the second half.

Head coach Markus Roeders said the first half was a strong one for Marquette.

“I thought we played a pretty smart first half,” Roeders said. “We really didn’t give them a whole lot.”

Marquette started the second half much like the first, maintaining solid possession and getting quality scoring chances. In the 50th minute, sophomore Darian Powell missed a cross by inches that would have given Marquette a two-goal lead. Two minutes later, the Golden Eagles tried to go far post on their first corner kick of the game, but it went wide.

It was senior midfielder Alex Heffron that finally gave Marquette its insurance goal when she headed a cross from junior midfielder Ann Marie Lynch in the 61st minute, giving the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, the insurance wouldn’t last long.

After Heffron’s goal, Nebraska started to control possession and got some quality chances. Four minutes after the Golden Eagles’ goal, Cornhusker forward Jaycie Johnson put them on the board. Johnson went in on the Marquette defense 1-on-4 and put a shot through a Golden Eagle defender’s legs. Junior goaltender Amanda Engel couldn’t get over in time, and Nebraska cut Marquette’s lead to 1.

Nebraska came out attacking after the restart, and continued to get quality pressure on the Golden Eagle back line. In the 69th minute, Nebraska forward Mayme Conroy caught a pass inside the box, where she had plenty of time to get off a shot. Conroy went right post and tied the game just eight minutes after Marquette had a 2-0 lead.

Roeders said the Golden Eagles let off the gas pedal a little bit, which allowed Nebraska to get back into the game.

“When you put that second (goal) in, it creates sometimes a level of comfort that can be dangerous at the same time,” Roeders said. “So for them to come back … it put us a little bit off-balance based on what we had done before.”

Following Conroy’s goal, the two teams played a physical back and forth game, with both teams getting legitimate scoring chances. But the pendulum kept shifting to Nebraska’s side, as the Cornhuskers starting having more and more possession in the attacking zone.

It seemed the teams were destined for extra time until the 83rd minute, when Johnson scored her second goal of the game. Johnson settled a through ball and went into the box, where she put a low shot to the far post. Engel dived to the right, but couldn’t get over far enough, and Nebraska took the 3-2 lead.

Roeders said the third goal seemed to deflate the Marquette team.

“I think by two, we had lost a little bit of belief,” Roeders said. “By the time you get to 3-2, after being up 2-0, you really put yourself in a hole.”

Marquette tried to battle back and had a corner kick in the 85th minute, but couldn’t capitalize. The final whistle sounded, and Marquette fell to its third straight Big Ten team.

Roeders said the team has the capability to win these kinds of games, but right now, the team isn’t playing at its full potential.

“We know we’re a good team, we just have to put the pieces together for 90 minutes,” Roeders said. “Unfortunately, today, it was more about 65, 70 (minutes) and then it broke down for us.”

Marquette will look to get back in the win column against New Mexico Sept. 5 in the Colorado College Invitational.

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