NU Soccer opens season this weekend at home

The Nebraska soccer team is set to start its 18th season on Friday, Aug. 19, when the Huskers host the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels at the Nebraska Soccer Field at 6 p.m. Friday will mark the first meeting between the two programs since 2004, when the Tar Heels escaped Lincoln with a 1-0 victory.

 

There will be an extra treat for fans on Friday, as the first 250 fans through the gates will receive a “Big Red in the Big Ten” poster to celebrate Nebraska's first official game as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

 

Nebraska will then host the Baylor Bears on Sunday at 1 p.m., with the game being the first non-conference matchup between the two programs. As a member of the Big 12 Conference from 1996 to 2010, the Huskers met the Bears 19 times, with the Huskers holding a 12-6-1 advantage.

 

Looking for No. 1

The Huskers have previously opened their season twice against the Tar Heels, but have yet to claim victory. The two teams met for the first time ever in 2002 at the Abbott Sports Complex, when the No. 10 Huskers and No. 2 Tar Heels ended the game tied at 1-1. North Carolina then visited the Huskers again in 2004, but took a 1-0 victory back to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels captured the only other meeting between the two teams in 2003 with a 6-0 win at McCaskill  Soccer Center.

 

Overall, the Huskers are 9-6-2 in season-opening games, including a 7-5-2 record when they open the season at home.

 

Battle Tested

The Nebraska soccer team should be more than ready for the Big Ten Conference schedule this year, as the Huskers will play three non-conference games against teams ranked or receiving votes in the NSCAA preseason poll.

 

Nebraska opens the year with No. 3 North Carolina at the Nebraska Soccer Field on Friday, Aug. 19, and will play its first road match of the season the following Thursday at Denver, who is receiving votes. After hosting Arkansas and Northern Arizona on Sept. 2 and 4, the Huskers will head to the Virginia Tech Classic, where they will face Virginia Tech and No. 18 Wake Forest on Friday, Sept. 9, and Sunday, Sept. 11, respectively.

 

Marlborough Named to Herman Trophy Watch List

Nebraska junior forward Morgan Marlborough was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List for the second straight season on Monday, Aug. 16, by the Missouri Athletic Club. Marlborough was one of five Big Ten soccer players named to the 42-player list, joining Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Michigan State's Laura Heyboer, Ohio State's Paige Maxwell and Penn State's Christine Nairn.

 

A two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, Marlborough ranked second in the NCAA in points (48) and fourth in goals (18) last season as a sophomore. In just two seasons, the Lee's Summit, Mo., native already ranks in the top 10 on four of Nebraska career-record charts, including fourth in multiple-goal games (10).

 

The MAC Hermann Trophy, given annually to the nation's top player, is chosen by head coaches of NCAA Division I programs who are members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

 

Huskers Start Season in Seventh

The Nebraska soccer team was picked seventh by the Big Ten Conference coaches in the league's preseason poll that was announced Tuesday, Aug. 16, by the league office. A member of the Big 12 Conference for the past 15 seasons, the Huskers won three regular-season titles and five conference tournament crowns.

 

Returning co-champion Penn State took the top spot on the list and was followed by fellow co-champion Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have won at least a share of the conference title for the past 13 seasons.

 

The Huskers will be the first team on campus to play a game as a member of the Big Ten Conference when the Huskers host North Carolina this Friday at 6 p.m. and will also be the first program to compete against a fellow Big Ten team when NU hosts Northwestern on Sunday, Sept. 18, at Noon.

 

Big Ten Preseason Coaches' Poll

1. Penn State

2. Ohio State

3. Wisconsin

4. Illinois

5. Michigan

6. Michigan State

7. Nebraska

8. Minnesota

9. Purdue

10. Northwestern

11. Indiana

12. Iowa

 

2011 Season Preview

Head Coach John Walker's Nebraska soccer team enters a new era in 2011 as a member of the Big Ten Conference. After winning eight Big 12 regular-season titles and five tournament titles, the soccer team will be the first program on campus to compete in a Big Ten event when the Huskers host Northwestern at the Nebraska Soccer Field on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Noon. The Huskers return seven of their 11 starters from a year ago and 13 letterwinners, while mixing in seven freshmen and one transfer.

 

The Huskers will need to fill the void of six departed seniors, including goalkeeper Tara Macdonald, but Walker returns a talented group that is headlined by junior Morgan Marlborough. Named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in both 2009 and 2010, Marlborough also captured NU's 17th NSCAA All-America honor in 2010 as a second-team selection. She was the first Husker to earn All-America accolades since 2005, when Brittany Timko was a third-team pick for the second straight season. After ranking fifth nationally in both points and goals as a freshman in 2009, Marlborough was even better last season, as she was second in the NCAA in points with 48 and her 18 goals ranked fourth nationally.

 

Marlborough is joined on the offensive attack by fellow junior Jordan Jackson. The Overland Park, Kan., native had a breakout season in 2010, as she was a first-team All-Big 12 selection and was named to the conference all-tournament team. Jackson ranked in the top 30 nationally in both points and goals, as her 33 points ranked her 19th and her 12 goals were 28th-best in the country. Together, Marlborough and Jackson combined to score 30 of NU's 48 goals and chipped in 21 of the team's 41 assists to account for 81 total points.

 

Walker will also look for offense from seniors Molly Thomas and Michaella Fulmer, sophomore Stacy Bartels and freshman Mayme Conroy.

 

A second-team All-Big 12 pick in 2009, Thomas scored all four of her goals in the first four games of the 2010 season, including two against Loyola Chicago. The Omaha, Neb., native will look to return to her sophomore form when she totaled eight goals and seven assists for 23 points. Fulmer returns for a second try at her senior season after missing the entire 2010 season due to a knee injury. The Lee's Summit, Mo., native scored four goals and had three assists in both 2008 and 2009.

 

Bartels redshirted the 2009 season and then played in all 21 games last season, including 10 starts. The Omaha native tied for third on the team in goals with four, including one in Nebraska's 4-1 opening-round win over Missouri at the Big 12 Tournament. Conroy comes to Nebraska from Omaha Skutt High School, where she was one of the most dominant prep scorers in recent memory. She scored 17 goals in 12 state tournament games and led the SkyHawks to three straight Class B state titles. She was the eighth Husker to be named Gatorade Nebraska Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

 

Defensively, sophomore Emma Stevens will step into net for the Huskers after playing in 12 games and drawing eight starts as a redshirt freshman in 2010. Stevens helped the Huskers improve to 14-1-0 in conference openers last season when she had a then-career-high five saves in NU's 2-1 win over Texas. The Corona, Calif., native bettered her saves mark later in the season with seven during a 4-1 win over Iowa State. Amy Swearer, a product of Lincoln Lutheran High School, will also be an option for the Huskers between the posts after she redshirted the 2010 season.

Stevens will be aided by seniors Blair Slapper and Katie Goetzmann, as well as sophomores Ari Romero and Maritza Hayes. Overall, the Huskers posted five shutouts in 2010 and held opponents to one goal or less in 12 of their 21 games. Slapper and Goetzmann have played in a combined 116 games at Nebraska, while Romero and Hayes each started all 21 games as true freshmen last season. Romero gained even more experience prior to the start of the 2011 season, as she trained with the Mexican under-20 national team during the summer.

 

Nebraska will open its 18th season on Friday, Aug. 19, when it hosts perennial national power North Carolina at the Nebraska Soccer Field. Along with Northwestern, the Huskers will also host Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois during the 2011 conference season.

 

After making 10 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1996 to 2005, the Huskers will be looking to make it back to the postseason following a four-year departure.