SOC: Huskers ride first half spark to a 3-1 exhibition victory

Photo by Pat Radigan

Freshman Natalie Cooke (right) scored in her first appearance as a Husker to put Nebraska up 3-0 in the first half.



Scoring Summary

10′NU – Hanson

18′NU – Hanson

29′NU – Cooke

75′CC – Burgo

Attn: 981

Story by Pat Radigan

Early offensive surge allows Nebraska to ease its way to exhibition win behind a brace for a familiar face

A balance of returning firepower and new faces helped the Husker women’s soccer team see off Colorado College in Nebraska’s only exhibition game of the year.

Haley Hanson scored a pair of goals inside the first 20 minutes before a goal from freshman Natalie Cooke put the scoreline out of reach in the first half hour. Colorado College got one back after the break, but Nebraska’s reinvented lineup kept enough pressure on to cruise to a win before starting the regular season on the road next weekend.

Nebraska’s first goal came after a counter attack put the ball at the feet of freshman Theresa Pujado, whose shot dipped toward the goal before Hanson got a touch on the ball and redirected it in. Pujado then made another deep run into the box that resulted in a penalty kick. Hanson converted it for her second goal in the first 17:44 of the game, showing why she scored seven goals a year ago in the process.

With the rest of the returning players on Nebraska’s roster scoring just five combined goals last fall, the Huskers knew they’d be looking for new faces to make an impact on the scoresheet. And it didn’t take long on Saturday for one of those new faces to show up.

Freshman Natalie Cooke entered the game for the first time at the 26:06 mark, and needed just 2:52 seconds to score in her Nebraska debut. Space on the left wing set up the first two Husker goals, and this time it was Caroline Buelt who broke free along the left side to set up the score. Buelt got to the endline and whipped a low cross in toward the front post. The goalkeeper was able to dive and get a hand on the cross, but the touch set the ball up nicely for Cooke, who cooly slotted her shot into the open net and made it 3-0 in the 29th minute.

The offensive pressure by Nebraska kept the Huskers on the front foot for most of the first half. After the break, though, the Tigers started to work their way into the game as both teams tapped into their benches. Sophomore Aubrei Corder, who played every minute in goal during her freshman campaign, was only called into action once in the game, and made the most of it with a sprawling save in the 64th minute.

Colorado College’s Riley Prillwitz broke free for a chance alone on goal, but Corder came off her line to meet the attacker and dove to stop the shot. It was the only save Corder made in her 67 minutes, with Colorado College getting on the scoresheet eight minutes after her exit. A bouncing ball brought Husker keeper Lauren Smith off her line, but it was Hannah Burgo who got to the ball first and played the ball around Smith before scoring on the open net for the Tigers only score of the game.

Nebraska came in at No. 22 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll, and will now put that rank to the test with a road trip to Kansas to open the regular season. The Huskers take on the Jayhawks on Friday night, before a Sunday morning matchup with Tulsa to complete the road trip to Lawrence.

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