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Photo Credit: John Peterson

Late Badger Goal Forces Nebraska to Settle for 1-1 Draw Against Wisconsin

September 15, 2023

Nebraska soccer came close to hanging on for a win against Wisconsin to open conference play Friday night.

After scoring early and leading 1-0 at the half, the Huskers were on the defensive for much of the final 45 minutes. They had seven shots at halftime, and didn’t get off an eighth until the 81st minute. Still, they survived numerous Badger opportunities, including a sequence of three shots in under a minute.

The defensive effort didn’t last until the final whistle, however. Wisconsin’s equalizer came in the 88th minute, as Maia Richters’ cross found its way to Riley Philbin, who knocked it into the net. When the draw was finalized, Husker star Eleanor Dale smacked the grass in frustration.

“It feels like a loss, to be honest,” Dale said postgame.

Nebraska’s won six of its nine games, and the three others have come in similar fashion. In a tie against Creighton and loss to Saint Louis, the opponent scored its final goal in the last 10 minutes.

“It’s something that we struggle with as a team, you know, look at the Saint Louis game, we did the exact same thing,” Dale said. “And we know we need to work on that.”

The offense also didn’t provide its usual output. Nebraska was held to less than two goals for the first time this season, although the first was scored by a familiar face. Off an impressive feed from Jordan Zade, Dale knocked in her 13th goal of the season, a number which currently leads Division I. She had more opportunities later on, most of which ended anticlimactically.

That included a couple late efforts. Nebraska sent a cross to Dale for the team’s first shot of the second half, but it was saved easily as a defender prevented her from getting a higher quality shot off. Another pass was laid just a bit too far in front of the forward as the Wisconsin keeper scooped it up.

At halftime, the 2013 Husker team was honored. That squad won the Big Ten Championship, and that year was also the last time Nebraska scored more than one goal against the Badgers. Since then, the Huskers have just one win over Wisconsin, a 1-0 triumph in 2021.

Despite the team’s frustration, this wasn’t necessarily a poor result for a team that now sits at 6-1-2. Wisconsin’s only loss so far this year came against a ranked Duke team, while it also forced a draw against against No. 2 North Carolina.

Another positive was the crowd. The attendance number of 1,771 was the second-highest for the program at Hibner Stadium, trailing only a 2015 game against North Carolina.

Nebraska’s next match comes next Thursday on the road versus Ohio State before an away contest with Penn State three days later. The latter is currently ranked in the top 10, providing an opportunity for the Huskers to earn a big win.

This game, however, showed Dale and the team that there’s work to do if they want to build off their fast start to the season.

“I think it just shows how hard conference is,” Dale said. “Like tonight even, again, you can’t put the game to bed early because all the team’s we’re going to play now are top top teams. So we have to be consistent for the whole game.”


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Tags: Soccer