Coming in to Sunday afternoon's contest, Marquette had been held scoreless for all of their previous two matches. Scoring on Nebraska, the defending Big Ten champions, wasn't going to be simple, but that was the target for the day. Get on the board, go from there.
Jacie Jermier knocked that one out of the way early when she bent a free kick from just barely outside the 18 yard box into the upper left corner of the net. Her goal in the 14th minute quickly ended MU's scoring draught and gave the Golden Eagles some space to play with. While the stat sheet isn't much proof of it (the Huskers actually outshot MU in the first half, 8-6), the tone from Marquette was what we've come to expect from Marquette. Lots of cutting off Nebraska's attacks before they get too deep and lots of getting in deep on the other end.
Jermier's marker was the only one of the first half, and slightly more than 15 minutes into the second half, Alex Heffron headed home a slick, high angle cross from Ann Marie Lynch, and the Golden Eagles were sitting on a 2-0 lead and looking pretty good overall.
And then it started. Nebraska scored twice in the next eight minutes exactly to even the match up. You could tell something was going poorly for Marquette on the first one. Jaycie Johnson came up the middle of the 18 yard box and with four defenders making a near perfect square around her, she launched one through the pair in front of her and past keeper Amanda Engel. It was not fun to watch. The second goal, coming from the boot of Mayme Conroy, was better defended, but still an excellently placed strike from the left side to the far post.
That left both sides with 22 minutes of action, and the Huskers took advantage of their momentum. In the 83rd minute, Johnson found the back of the net again to give Nebraska their first lead of the game. Marquette was unable to mount a serious attack from that point, and ended up with the loss.
The loss drops Marquette to 1-3-0 to start the season, which is their worst start to a season when they had a matching record back in the fall of 1999. After the Minnesota match, I pointed out that Marquette was still working on some things in the rotation department, as they went 19 deep. On Sunday, head coach Markus Roeders went 21 deep, and that's without having Ashley Handwork (concussion) and Mary Luba (knee) available for this game. Handwork and Luba should be major components of this team, so would the rotation be shrunken if they had played? Perhaps.
Up Next: Things still won't get easier for MU, as next weekend they head to Colorado Springs to participate in the Colorado College Invitational. New Mexico will be the opponent on Friday in what will be the first match of the season for the Lobos, while a match up with the hosting Tigers (1-1-1) awaits on Sunday.