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Photo by Patrick Radigan | Corn Fed Sports

Husker Jaycie Johnson puts away a penalty kick for her second goal in her Nebraska soccer debut, helping the Huskers to a 4-0 win in the season opener in the process.

Story by Patrick Radigan | Corn Fed Sports
Follow me: @cornfedBOSSman

With the strike pair of Mayme Conroy and Jaycie Johnson in the starting lineup for the first time together, the Nebraska soccer team used a pair of goals from each forward to cruise past Southeast Missouri State, combining with a shutout by the NU defense to make it a clean 4-0 win in the season opener.

Conroy connected early in both halves to give Nebraska a 2-0 lead early in the second half, before the freshman Johnson put the game away with a pair of second half scores to show the potency of the 2013 Husker offense. In a game the Huskers controlled with their possession and pace, NU scored on a pair of crosses, a through ball and a late penalty kick as coach Walker’s squad turned in a complete performance to start the season on a high note at the Nebraska Soccer Field.

“I think about a third of our squad are made up of newcomers,” said NU assistant Peter Underwood. “So we can’t rely on the upper classmen the entire year; what we aim to do as a team is rely on all 11 players being on the same page.”

From the first whistle, Nebraska took control of the game, as the pace and movement of the Huskers put SEMO on their heels early in the contest. It was Johnson who helped create the first breakthrough for NU, as the speedy freshman had a shot at the near post saved by the keeper before Conroy hammered home the rebound to put the Huskers ahead for good less than five minutes in. For the rest of the half, the trio of Johnson, Caroline Flynn and Katie Kraeutner kept pressure on the Redhawks, allowing NU to create a number of good looks on goal.

Even with the offensive flow, the game was still 1-0 at the break, but the duo of Conroy and Johnson again came up clutch after the break to open the game up in the span of a couple of minutes. Conroy opened the second half scoring with a towering header on a corner kick from Samantha Areman, giving the junior her second goal when she was able to flick a ball over the top of the outstretched arms of the Redhawk keeper and double Nebraska’s lead.

“Mayme is a goal scorer there’s no doubt about that,” Underwood said. “I was particularly impressed with the second goal because she went up bravely with bodies around and was still able to direct the ball into the top corner, it was very impressive.”

Not wanting to be outdone, Johnson scored just minutes later thanks to a perfect setup from Flynn, as the sophomore Flynn left a through pass for her freshman teammate which Johnson slotted past the keeper to put the game out of reach. After both teams slowed the pace over the next 20 minutes or so, Johnson again found her way onto the end of a through ball, this time outrunning a defender from the midfield line to earn a breakaway chance on net. With the keeper bearing down on her at the edge of the box, Johnson cooly slid the ball past the outstretched leg in front of her before being tripped up to earn a chance at a penalty kick late in the affair.

Using the same calm touch as her move around the goalie, Johnson confidently placed the ball into the lower right corner of the net on her penalty, making it 4-0 in the waning minutes to put an exclamation point on the night.

For the game, Nebraska outshot SEMO 30-3 (including 14 attempts on goal) to overwhelm the Redhawks en route to a 4-0 non-conference win over Southeast Missouri for the second straight season. Nebraska used a combination of Emma Stevens and Kelly Schatz in net for the shutout, with the freshman Schatz coming up clutch to parry a hard shot just wide of the net on SEMO’s only real scoring chance.

Nebraska will be back in action on Sunday, when Cincinatti comes to town to provide a major conference foe for the Huskers on the opening weekend of play.