Nebraska midfielder Meg Brandt weaved her way past Maryland women’s soccer’s backline, setting herself up with a one-on-one chance against goalkeeper Erin Seppi.
Brandt did not waste her opportunity to secure a brace, slotting the ball in the bottom left corner to double her team’s edge.
Brandt’s tallies were the only two to find the back of the net on a cold Friday night in Lincoln, Nebraska, propelling the Cornhuskers to a 2-0 win over the Terps in a crucial game for both teams as they try to qualify for the Big Ten tournament.
With both teams relying on a high-tempo playstyle, Maryland expected a challenge from a Nebraska squad that had just three wins entering the match.
And both teams’ pressure-based tactics were on display early.
Nebraska was able to get its numbers forward first, and after three minutes, a cross attempt from Brandt took a deflection off defender Alexis Hogarth and went past Seppi — who missed the previous two matches for Maryland due to illness.
The Terps were in an unusual place, having never conceded in the opening 10 minutes this season. Maryland has regularly proven to be the team to get on the board early, scoring in the opening 10 minutes in five of their matches this season.
Through the next 20 minutes, neither squad could put together a strong chance on goal, despite both sides shifting most of their players forward. The Terps struggled to make their way into the box, as Nebraska was able to match the Terps’ presence in the attacking third for most of the first half.
In the 36th minute, Brandt was able to break through the Maryland defense and put away her second goal of the game — and season. At the end of the first half, the Terps found themselves down 2-0 while being outshot 5-4.
The second half started with more Nebraska pressure as it moved forward trying to extend the advantage. The Maryland defense was able to hold them off for the opening part of the half, though, clearing the ball from inside the box a few times without allowing a shot.
Brandt nearly completed her hat trick in the 67th minute as she curled the ball in the top right corner, but an offside call on forward Brenna Ochoa, who served Brandt the ball, canceled the potential goal.
In the 77th minute, the Terps won a free kick on the edge of the box, one of their first set pieces in a dangerous area. Midfielder Loren Sefcik took a chance on goal, but it went wide left.
The Cornhuskers were able to finish out the match with a clean sheet against a typically strong Maryland offense, handing the Terps a crucial loss in their quest for a Big Ten tournament appearance.