Soccer suffers crushing overtime loss to Huskers

BY TOM CLOS | OCTOBER 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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Ouch. This one hurt.

The Iowa soccer team suffered a crushing blow, falling, 2-1, in overtime to Nebraska in the team’s annual “Pink Game” for breast-cancer awareness at the Iowa Soccer Complex on Thursday.

Husker sophomore midfielder Caroline Gray lofted an arcing shot from around 90 feet outside the box over sprawling Hawkeye freshman goalie Hannah Clark to send the Huskers back to Lincoln with a huge late-season triumph.

“The kid got free, took a shot from a distance, and beat the goal-keeper,” Iowa head coach Ron Rainey said. “It hurts.”

Iowa (11-4-3, 2-4-3 Big Ten) and Nebraska (7-9-1, 4-5-0) entered the day tied with Indiana for the last two spots in the Big Ten Tournament with 9 points each.

The Huskers opened the scoring off a corner kick early in the second half, but the Hawkeyes quickly answered.

Senior defenseman Katherine Lewis notched a penalty-kick goal in the 54th minute, less than two minutes after the visitors opened the scoring, to tie the game at 1. The score remain there until the dramatic moments transpired in extra time.

“We had good rhythm in both halves, and I don’t fault our team at all,” Rainy said. “But we have three ties and needed the points.”

The result now vaults the Huskers into sole possession of seventh place, while Iowa remains tied with the Hoosiers for the eighth and final spot pending Indiana’s contest against Minnesota today.

The Black and Gold will attempt to salvage what’s left of the season when they head east to Northwestern (4-10-2, 0-8-0) in Evanston, Ill., on Oct 21.

The Wildcats are winless in conference play, but they could potentially put an end to the Hawkeyes’ hopes of a spot in the Big Ten tourney.

“To meet some of our goals this season, we have to get better in the next two days,” Rainey said. “We’re in a top conference in the country, and we have to play our best game once again on Sunday if we want to win.”

Thursday’s loss didn’t mathematically eliminate Iowa from postseason play, but the skipper knew this loss was potentially crippling to his squad.

“The margin for error is pretty slim these last couple of games,” Rainey said. “And we can’t get this one back.”

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