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Oct. 27, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. - In a match between two of the top Big Ten teams, the No. 16 Penn State women's soccer team battled No. 21 Nebraska to a double-overtime ending but fell just short as the Huskers escaped with a 3-2 victory on Sunday afternoon. Junior Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) and senior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) each notched goals for the Blue and White.
With the loss, Penn State moves to 12-5-1 overall and 6-4-0 in league play while the Corn Huskers improve to 14-3-1, 9-1-0. The Nittany Lions outshot Nebraska 19 attempts to 16 but could not get past keeper Emma Stevens, who registered seven saves.
Jordan Jackson attempted to put the Huskers on the board early, sending a shot on goal in the 10th minute of play, but was stopped by PSU keeper Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.), who collected the save.
Hayes had two great looks in the opening half, first drawing out Stevens to make an attempt from just outside the box in the 25th minute and then drilling the ball from 18 yards out in the 45th minute, but was unable to capitalize on either. Nebraska's Samantha Areman slid across the goal line to pick up a team save on the first attempt and Stevens pulled off a beautiful diving save to stop the second.
After a scoreless first half, the Lions were determined to get on the board early in the second and found success less than two minutes after the break. PSU was awarded a free kick at the 46:44 mark and Church fired the ball in from the top of the 18 yard box to put the Lions up 1-0.
Nebraska nearly scored the equalizer just five minutes later as Jackson found the back of the net on a header before the play was negated due to offsides. Courtney Claassen was the next Husker to make an attempt, shooting from just outside the 18 yard box, but Eckerstrom was prepared as she corralled the ball for another save.
Jackson buried the ball on her next shot, heading in a long pass to the far post from senior Ari Romero to tie the match at 1-1 in the 75th minute.
The Huskers pulled ahead eight minutes later as freshman Jaycie Johnson tapped in a rebound. Eckerstrom made a fantastic diving save on the initial shot by Jackson but could not hold on to the ball as Johnson found it just outside of the box and sent it in before the keeper could react.
With the time winding down it looked as though Nebraska would pull out the win in regulation, but Lions weren't done yet. Freshman Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.) sent the ball to Hayes at the edge of the box and the senior headed it in to even the score at 2-2 and push the match into overtime.
Nebraska nearly ended the game in the second minute of overtime as Johnson fired one off but the freshman just missed as the ball collided with the near post.
Husker forward Mayme Conroy took back-to-back shots from close range in the 99th minute but was stymied by Eckerstrom, who finished the match with five saves.
Johnson ended the game in the 103rd minute of action. The forward ran the length of the field and beat two Penn State defenders before blasting the golden goal into the lower left corner from 20 yards out.
The Blue and White close out the regular season next Friday as they travel to Michigan State. The match is slated for a 3:00 p.m. (ET) start.