Husker Soccer Headed To The Elite 8
Lincoln – Behind another brace from Eleanor Dale, the fifth-seeded Nebraska soccer team punched its ticket to the Elite Eight with a convincing 4-0 shutout of UC Irvine in a third-round NCAA Tournament match Sunday in front of 1,717 fans at Barbara Hibner Stadium.
Dale, the nation's leading goal scorer, scored two goals to post her 11th brace of the season on a record-breaking day. With her two goals, Dale increased her season total to a school-record 28 goals. Her four points also gave her 61 on the season, tying the Nebraska record for most points in a season.
Abbey Schwarz opened the scoring with a goal at the 13:54 mark off an assist from Gwen Lane. Nebraska made it 2-0 on Dale's first goal 29:28 into the contest. Schwarz assisted Dale's goal, which tied the school record for most goals in a season. The Huskers weren't done, adding a goal with 4:41 remaining in the first half when Haley Peterson found the back of the net off an assist from Lauryn Anglim for her first goal of the season.
The finisher came at the 86:08 mark, when Dale scored on a free kick just outside the box to become the Nebraska leader for goals in a season.
Schwarz had a goal and an assist to pace the Husker offense, which out-shot UC Irvine, 25-11. Dale had 11 shots herself to match the Anteaters' team total. In net, Sami Hauk had seven saves and Cece Villa stopped one shot as Nebraska posted its seventh shutout of the season.
With the win, Nebraska (17-3-3) advanced to take on either No. 2 seed Stanford or No. 6 seed Mississippi State in the Elite Eight. The Cardinal and Bulldogs play on Sunday afternoon, with the winner advancing to face the Huskers.
UC Irvine, which upset two seeded teams to advance to play Nebraska, ended its season with a 10-8-6 record.
Nebraska was the aggressor in the opening 15 minutes, out-shooting UC Irvine, 5-0. The fifth shot found the back of the net, as Schwarz slotted one into the bottom corner of the net off an assist from Lane at the 13:54 mark.
The Huskers kept up the pressure as Dale had a couple of near misses following the goal. Her first attempt was blocked on a good defensive play and two minutes later, Dale made solid contact on a one-time volley inside the box that sailed just high.
UC Irvine nearly equalized in the 21st minute, but Hauk came up with a big save for Nebraska.
The Huskers made it 2-0 on a fantastic goal in the 30th minute. Dale played a great ball to Schwarz, who then returned the favor with a perfectly placed cross into the box that Dale put home with a superb finish. The goal was Dale’s 27th of the season, tying the school record for goals in a season.
Hauk came up big with another save with 10 minutes left in the half, denying the Anteaters a quality chance for the second time. UC Irvine goalkeeper Glo Hinojosa answered with a nice save on a shot from Sarah Weber that was headed for the back of the net.
Nebraska then took a 3-0 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the half. Weber won a corner with a great individual effort and Anglim’s corner found Peterson at the back of the net, and Peterson headed it home to send Nebraska into the locker room with a three-goal lead.
The Huskers had 17 shots in the first half, including eight on goal. UC Irvine was limited to five total shots, but four of those were on frame as Hauk made four saves.
Nebraska kept up its pressure with two shots in the first three minutes of the second half. Both teams had great scoring chances less than 30 second apart in the 57th minute, with each goalkeeper turning the opponent away.
In the 59th minute, Dale missed her second goal of the match by inches as her shot just went wide of the far post. Twenty minutes later, Florence Belzile hit the crossbar, narrowly missing a goal.
The Huskers' final goal was set up when Weber drew a foul just outside of the Anteater box. Dale then beat the keeper with a free kick into the side of the net to cap an impressive performance for the Cornhuskers.