Minnesota ousted in first round with loss

The Gophers were first to score, but Nebraska roared back and won 4-1.

Jace Frederick

The Gophers fell 4-1 to top-seeded Nebraska on Wednesday in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

Minnesota (11-7-2) now must wait until Monday to see if its name is called when the NCAA tournament field is announced.

Gophers freshman forward Simone Kolander put her team on the board with a goal in the first minute — her second goal of the season and first since the first game of the season. She finished with four shots on the night.

The Cornhuskers responded with two goals in 14 minutes — the second by senior Jordan Jackson, who was named Big Ten Midfielder of the Year on Tuesday.

Nebraska added two more goals in the second half to all but put Minnesota away.

The Gophers outshot the Big Ten regular-season champions 15-12 in the loss.

“It’s really frustrating when we have the ball and control of the game [and can’t convert],” freshman midfielder Josee Stiever said. “We have to work on our final third and finishing.”

The four goals were the most Minnesota has allowed this season.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at the University of Illinois soccer field, but inclement weather pushed the game to a recreation turf soccer field.

Teams played two quarterfinals at the same time at the complex.

“It was a different atmosphere,” Stiever said. “It was a little odd having the two other teams playing like 20 feet away from us.”

On Tuesday, ESPN women’s soccer analyst Graham Hays told the Minnesota Daily the Gophers were “fairly safe” for an NCAA tournament bid, regardless of Wednesday’s result.

“We have a good chance of being in the NCAAs,” freshman defender/forward Ashley Pafko said. “It’s definitely a weight off of our shoulders that we did get those big wins in the beginning of our season.”