Nothing like beating one of the Big Ten's elite soccer programs to cement yourself as a legitimate player in the conference this season.
Because that's exactly what Nebraska (8-3-2, 4-0-1 Big Ten) is this season and that's exactly what Nebraska proved Thursday night with a 1-0 win over No. 24 Penn State (6-5-0, 2-2 Big Ten) on the road.
The Nittany Lions have won either a regular season crown or conference tournament title in all but one year since the 2010-2011 season. (Coincidently, Nebraska claimed both conference titles in 2013.) Their manager, Erica Dambach, holds a 190-64-18 record in her 12 seasons leading PSU. They entered 2018 as the preseason pick to win the conference again; Nebraska was picked eighth.
Instead, its Nebraska atop the table with 13 points.
And the Huskers earned this one.
A penalty kick from midfielder Savanah Uveges in the first half gave Nebraska a 1-0 lead to take into the break. Uveges has been money from the penalty spot this season, with four of her seven goals coming from it, but it was fitting the only separation between the two sides came by way of a penalty. Nebraska held just a 5-to-4 edge in shots in a first half that was as free-flowing as any the Huskers have been in this season.
Penn State didn't get a shot off over the final 22 minutes of the first, but opened the second with constant pressure and six shots in the first 20 minutes to show for it. Nebraska certainly didn't help itself, with a number of turnovers near midfield and a park-the-bus mentality for the majority of the final 45 minutes, but goalkeeper Aubrei Corder had perhaps her best game of the season to preserve the win.
She set a new career-high with nine saves and, at times, looked unbeatable. Her best came midway through the second half.
Corder's 6th save.
Maybe her best save.
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) September 27, 2018
Nebraska has now won three games against ranked opponents this season, with two of them coming on the road. The Huskers entered Thursday's game ranked 18th in RPI and this result only figures to bump them up even more.
With six games still to go, the Huskers have already moved past their 2017 conference win total. A Sunday showdown with Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, could provide even more distance between themselves and second-place Rutgers atop the conference table.
The Huskers kick off against the Buckeyes (5-4, 2-1 Big Ten) at 1:30 p.m. CT.
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.