Faith Carter just doesn’t like overtime.
“No, not a thing,” the senior forward said Thursday night after her hat-trick-sealing, game-winning header found the back of the net just one minute into extra time.
It’s the second time in as many extras that Carter has ended things just as quickly as they began. Against Maryland on Sunday, Carter’s 92nd-minute header sealed a 2-1 win. Against Indiana (6-2-2, 2-1 Big Ten) on Thursday night, her 91st-minute header sealed a 4-3 come-from-behind win to keep the Huskers (6-3-2, 2-0-1 Big Ten) unbeaten in conference play.
Well… "91st-minute" isn't technically correct. Carter needed all of 58 seconds to score the deciding goal.
“Faith has stepped up big time for our team,” forward Meg Brandt said of the Huskers’ leading goal-scorer. “We tell her that she can win any ball in the air if she tries. We give her confidence because she honestly can do anything so we like to motivate her and she motivates us back.”
That was certainly on full display on a rain-soaked Hibner Field. Nebraska trailed 1-0 at halftime in this one, but a goal from Brandt in the 52nd minute knotted things at 1-1. Indiana took the lead right back in the 64th minute and then added what looked like an insurance goal 10 minutes later.
But before anyone in the press box could even update the 2-1 score, Carter put her first ball in the back of the net. The Hoosiers had a two-goal advantage for all of 25 seconds.
“I think the switch did flip for our team,” Carter said of the Huskers’ response as that point. “I think it was a good response from our whole team. We really built it in the back and were able to get it forward.”
Carter added her second goal seven minutes later and then sealed the deal in extras. Three straight from the senior striker to sink the Hoosiers.
And oh, by the way, this game was set for kickoff at 7:05 p.m. CT and didn’t actually begin until 9:27 p.m. The two teams didn’t even make it onto the field for warmups before the game went into a delay, one that officially lasted three hours and 26 minutes.
Brandt said everyone just tried to do their own thing. Carter listened to music and tried to relax. Everyone wanted to play, and the Huskers have been through this plenty. Last season’s home match against Penn State saw a lightning delay that stretched over two-and-a-half hours.
“We know what it takes,” Brandt said, “so we stick together on those.”
Indiana came out looking to force the action right away, but Nebraska weathered that storm, too. All things considered, the Huskers weren’t panicking heading into the locker room down just one after 45 minutes. They were only out-shot 3-2 but generated more set pieces. Of her late goals, Carter said nothing changed from earlier in the game, her looks just went in.
Over the final 25 minutes of regulation, Nebraska looked like a team with its hair on fire. The Huskers had Indiana back on its heels on defense and looked to counter every opportunity they had. Forward Elyse Huber nearly ended the game before extra time.
The win means the Huskers’ hottest start to conference play since 2013 will continue, but Carter said this isn’t the time for patting themselves on the back.
“Going into the season I had high expectations for this team because we have a group of amazing girls,” she said. “This is definitely something we expected but we’re just ready to keep building.”
Their next step will be on Sunday when Purdue (5-2-3, 0-1-2 Big Ten) comes to town for a 1:05 p.m. CT kickoff.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.