Some unfinished business cut short the Nebraska soccer team's celebration after last Sunday's defeat of perennial Big Ten champion Penn State.
The Huskers need one more victory — over Indiana on Friday — to wrap up their first regular-season conference title since 2000. The game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Nebraska Soccer Field.
“We know we have one game to go and the job will be finished,” freshman forward Jaycie Johnson said.
Johnson earned Big Ten freshman of the week honors after scoring the game-winner in the 3-2 double-overtime victory over the Nittany Lions and said the Huskers were on Cloud 9 afterward. They liked how well they worked together to pull off the win over the 15-time champions.
But then it was back to reality.
“We don't want any distractions,” goalkeeper Emma Stevens said. “We set a goal, and we're sticking to it.”
The No. 18 Huskers (14-3-1, 9-1) have guaranteed their best finish in three years in the Big Ten and best league finish since 2005, when they finished second in the Big 12.
They've done it by winning 12 of their last 13 matches, including five straight. They've scored in 15 straight matches while allowing just 19 goals.
Even with a loss or tie Friday, Nebraska could claim the title with a Michigan loss or tie against Ohio State on Saturday. The Wolverines are 8-1-1.
“All the work we put in has finally paid off,” said Stevens, who earned her career-best 14th victory in goal on Sunday. “We've just been fighting for so long. It's finally time for us to get our glory.”
It won't be easy Friday. The Hoosiers sit in third place in the Big Ten with a 13-4-1 and 6-4-0 record. They've clinched a berth in the postseason tournament but will be playing for a higher seed.
Stevens said the Hoosiers are tough and physical. But she said the Huskers will stick to their game plan, since it's worked so well all season.
“They are a Big Ten team and the whole conference is very tough,” she said. “They are going to give us a good game.”
Stevens will be one of six seniors honored 15 minutes before game time. The others are Ari Romero, Kylie Greischar, Stacy Bartels, Jordan Jackson and Maritza Hayes.
Johnson said they'll probably be emotional, but it will motivate them and their teammates.
“They'll give even more effort,” she said. “They deserve it. We want to give them the best outcome possible.”
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Video: Surprising season for NU soccer