Nebraska’s Jaycie Johnson isn’t worried about opponents focusing on her after a big performance in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Johnson scored four goals in the 10th-ranked Huskers’ 4-0 victory over Southeastern Louisiana. The win set up a 2 p.m. match on Friday with Boston College.
No. 12 Portland and Illinois face off at 11 a.m. in the other second-round match at the Nebraska Soccer Field. The winners meet at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Johnson said if the Eagles zero in on her, that would leave opportunities for Mayme Conroy, Jordan Jackson and Katie Kraeutner.
Johnson leads the team with 17 goals and two assists. Jackson, however, has scored in six of the last nine matches and earned points in nine of the past 10. She has nine goals and 12 assists, Conroy has 10 goals and three assists and Kraeutner has five goals and four assists.
“They will have to figure out a way to stop all of us,” Johnson said. “Any of us could score four goals.”
Johnson doesn’t expect to have the same freedom to roam Friday as she did last week, when she became the first freshman in NCAA history to score four times in a tournament match. NU posted season highs in shots (35), targeted chances (17) and corners (10).
Johnson said she got really lucky.
“They played me a lot of good balls. I had a lot of good crosses,” she said. “I had a lot of freedom and a lot of space to work. It was a positive for me.”
The Eagles will be another step up in competition.
Boston College (11-9-1, 6-6-1) finished sixth in a difficult Atlantic Coast Conference, which received all four No. 1 seeds. The Eagles went 6-9 in matches decided by one goal or less. McKenzie Meehan has scored 18 goals with one assist and Stephanie McCaffrey has 12 goals and eight assists.
“Boston College will be stronger,” Johnson said. “If we play like we’ve been playing, I feel like we’ll be able to take care of them.”
Johnson didn’t learn much about the Eagles until Thursday’s practice. Coach John Walker has had the Huskers focus on making their own improvements instead, just as they’ve done all season.
“We don’t want to psych ourselves out about it and get overwhelmed with what they play,” Johnson said. “We really haven’t done much research on other teams. We just listen to what John has to tell us and go from there.”
Walker was happy with how many Huskers had one-on-one scoring opportunities against Southeastern and liked how many crosses NU had into the box. Otherwise, he’s just told the Huskers to concentrate on the basics and building on everything they’ve been doing all season.
The Huskers (19-3-1) have won 10 straight, the longest active winning streak in Division I, and 17 of their last 18.
“We’ll just play our game and relax and play as a team,” Johnson said.