Photo by Pat Radigan
101′ – MINN – Fielder (9)
Story by Pat Radigan
Huskers miss out on Big Ten tournament with loss
The way things worked out, all Nebraska had to do was make it through 10 more minutes of extra time with Minnesota on Senior Night, and a tie would have been enough to punch the Huskers ticket for the postseason.
Then the Gophers won possession less than a minute into the overtime, and took the ball up the left flank.
As a pair of Husker seniors chased down the streaking attacker, Minnesota’s Kellie McGahn got a cross off just in time, and it found its way through the box and to the far post. Unfortunately for NU, Molly Fielder was there, and fired her 9th goal of the season past a pair of bodies and won the game for Minnesota with a golden goal in the 101st minute.
The 1-0 loss dropped Nebraska to 3-3-5 in Big Ten play, and left the Huskers on the outside of the Big Ten tournament field due to Iowa holding the tiebreaker between the two teams. Nebraska dominated play in the second half, and had itself in position to qualify with a point, but it was Minnesota that found a late answer to secure the No. 3 seed.
Entering the overtime, all other conference games had been decided, leaving two possible outcomes. Either Nebraska would win or draw and advance to the tournament, which would leave Minnesota as the No. 5 seed, or the Gophers could earn the right to host a quarterfinal matchup with a win.
Nebraska came out in the first overtime with the same aggressive attitude as the second half, but could not get a goal. The Huskers had 8 shots in the second half, and forced a pair of impressive saves from Minnesota’s Kailee Sharp. That pressure fizzled out a bit in the overtime, with the Huskers managing just one shot, but NU still did enough offensively to keep Minnesota’s offense out of rhythm.
It would be the Gophers responded after the break, though, and immediately went on the front foot in the second overtime period.
Due to Iowa’s 1-0 win over Illinois, the Hawkeyes moved into a tie with Nebraska for the 8th spot in the conference, but Iowa’s 4-3-2 record gave them the tiebreaker for most conference wins.
With the loss, the Huskers finish the regular season with a 9-5-5 record.