Nebraska Defeats Kansas in NCAA Tournament Second Round
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Nebraska’s Nikki Baker scored from 30 yards out at the 94:19 mark to lift the Cornhuskers to a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 8 national seed Kansas Sunday in the second round of the 2004 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championships at the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.
The Jayhawks finish their season with an 18-5 overall record, while Nebraska improves to 14-8 on the year and will face Illinois in the Sweet 16 round.
“They (Nebraska) were done, they were tired and they were on their heels a little bit,” said Kansas head coach Mark Francis. “We knew that we had more depth than they did because they weren’t able to sub in as much as we were. We did everything except score. In this game, unfortunately, you can dominate stats and not win the game. We had a lot of chances during regulation, especially in the second half that we didn’t put away. Today they put two in the goal and we put one and that means they win.”
The Cornhuskers took an early 1-0 lead in the 28th minute, as midfielder Brooke Bredenberg took a shot on a 20-yard free kick that found its way into the back of the net past KU senior goalkeeper Meghan Miller.
Despite holding a 9-6 advantage in shots, the Jayhawks could not capitalize and found themselves trailing 1-0 at the midway point.
In the second half, Kansas dominated play and outshot the Cornhuskers by a 17-1 margin, but could only manage one goal, as junior forward Jessica Smith scored from eight yards out off a pass from senior forward Rachel Gilfillan to knot the game at 1-1.
The goal was the second in as many games for Smith, who tallied four goals and three assists in the 19 games she played this season.
Nebraska goalkeeper Katie Wright was forced to make nine saves in the match, but limited the Jayhawks to only one second half goal to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime, KU controlled the ball deep in the Nebraska end for most of the period but allowed a late rush by Nebraska that resulted in the game-winning tally by Baker.
“This is the best team we have ever had,” Francis said. “But sometimes it takes a little bit more than that. This year’s team is a lot more talented than last year’s team. We got a few breaks last year that we didn’t get today. It’s been a great season. The girls have accomplished many things this year that the program has never done before.”
NCAA Second Round
Kansas 1, Nebraska 2
Nov. 13, 2004
Nebraska’s Nikki Baker
On her game-winning shot:
“We were working hard and wanted to go at them hard for the first four minutes of overtime and give all we had. Abby [Penas] played a good ball and I had a chance and took it.”
Nebraska Head Coach John Walker
On the game:
“I thought the key to the game for us was just being able to score. We knew that our depth would be a factor. Soccer is not a sport that is conducive to turning around and playing again in 48 hours. We are used to three or four days rest. The fact that we could get out and score early kept us in the game and I thought we did very well in the first half. In the second half they [Kansas] dominated for two reasons – one, because they [Kansas] are a terrific team, and two, we could hang on and get into the extra time.”
“I feel bad for Kansas, they are an excellent team and have a lot of seniors. Mark [Francis] told me before the game he had seven seniors who started and he built the program from scratch.Those seniors got him to that level and they are Big 12 co-Champions this year and created a team capable of going to the NCAA Tournament.”
On Nebraska’s season:
“No one has faced the battles we have over the last six months. The one thing our players have done all year is gone out and played hard. They played together and stuck it out.”
Nebraska’s Lindsey Ingram
On what she told the team before the game:
“I told the team to play with everything you have inside you. You never know when it’s going to be your last game. That’s what you play for – you don’t wait until your senior or junior year to start playing your hardest – you start now, today. We can’t wait, today is the day, and you truly don’t know when your last game is going to be. I didn’t want today or Friday to be my last game and neither did the other girls.”
Kansas Head Coach Mark Francis
On how his team approached the overtime period:
“They (Nebraska) were done, they were tired and they were on their heels a little bit. We knew that we had more depth than they did because they weren’t able to sub in as much as we were.We did everything except score. In this game, unfortunately, you can dominate stats and not win the game. We had a lot of chances during regulation, especially in the second half that we didn’t put away. Today they put two in the goal and we put one and that means they win.”
On the seniors:
“I am really disappointed for our seniors because they have given so much to this program and I really felt like this year the team was capable of going further than we did last year, and obviously that’s not going to happen now. They are a big reason why our program is where it is at right now. They have established the benchmark for what it means to be a member of the Kansas soccer program. We are going to miss them on the field but I think the thing we are really going to miss is the leadership that they brought.”
“We dominated, had the ball most of the game, most of the opportunities and most of the shots and they still won the game. That’s how they are. No matter what you do they don’t go away.John (Walker) does an incredible job getting them emotionally fired up and ready to play and getting the most out of his players. You have to give him and his players credit because we dominated the game but we still didn’t win. You have to give them some credit. The kid (Baker) hits an unbelievable, once in a lifetime shot, but she made it. That’s something that we needed but weren’t able to do.”
On the season:
“This is the best team we have ever had. But sometimes it takes a little bit more than that. This year’s team is a lot more talented than last year’s team. We got a few breaks last year that we didn’t get today. It’s been a great season. The girls have accomplished many things this year that the program has never done before.”
Junior Forward Jessica Smith
On the game:
“It was pretty frustrating. We had a lot of chances and we didn’t put them in the back of the net.We kept creating which says a lot about our character– we never gave up. We kept going at them, but unfortunately, the Nebraska girl (Baker) hit an unbelievable shot and that’s it.”
On comparing the two games Nebraska and Kansas played:
“I think the Kansas team you saw out there today was a lot different than the first time we played Nebraska. We had a lot of chances just like we did in the first game but we were definitely a different team out there today — we just didn’t finish.”
Sophomore Defender Nikki Alvarez
On the game:
“I know the last time we played them it was a little frustrating that we couldn’t get the end result, but we gave our hearts out. We expected everything for ourselves and we did as best we could at the time. We played the game that we wanted to play, we just got a little unfortunate.”
Senior Goalkeeper Meghan Miller
On the game:
“I wasn’t planning on being done today, but it’s kind of out of my control. We didn’t finish our chances. Jessica (Smith) put in a great goal to tie it up. It just wasn’t our day. We weren’t supposed to win this game today, if we were, we would have made our shots. If we were meant to win this game, we would have.”