Nebraska junior attackman Brett Willms scored 11 goals and added two assists during the weekend games against MSU-Mankato and Oklahoma. Photo by Rod Adams Photography
Following a 3-0 start to the 2015 season, Nebraska hosted two games against tough out-of-conference competition on Friday, March 6 against MSU-Mankato and Sunday, March 8 against Oklahoma.
In the first game of the weekend, the Cornhuskers faced MSU-Mankato for the third time in program history. The Mavericks had prevailed in the previous two games against Nebraska with an 18-6 victory in 2014 and a 23-4 victory in 2012.
MSU-Mankato jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first quarter but Nebraska answered with 10 goals over the next three quarters as the Cornhuskers captured their first win over the Mavericks with an 11-8 victory.
Junior attackman Brett Willms. Photo by Rod Adams Photography
Junior attackman Brett Willms (Houston, Texas / Kingwood HS) scored five goals and also had one assist to lead both teams in scoring. Sophomore attackman Chris Foster (Plymouth, Minn. / Wayzata HS) scored twice and five additional players also contributed a goal and an assist each. Senior goaltender Max Jordan (Aurora, Ill. / Waubonsie Valley HS) stopped 10 of the Mavericks’ 18 shots.
In the weekend’s finale, Nebraska hosted one of the hottest offenses in the country in Oklahoma – the Sooners we averaging 16.4 goals per game heading into the matchup against the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska was first on the board and jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Oklahoma responded with three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead into the second quarter.
“We knew it was going to be a boxing match,” Nebraska coach Rob Mazanec said. “We knew each team would go on their runs and it would be back-and-forth for the entire game.”
True to prediction, both Nebraska and Oklahoma scored four goals each in the second quarter and the Sooners maintained a one-goal lead at halftime.
Oklahoma’s faceoff and transition game came out on fire in the third quarter as the Sooners scored three straight goals to take a four-goal lead, 10-6.
Not going quietly, Nebraska rallied back to score three goals while only surrendering an additional goal to cut the Oklahoma lead to 11-9 heading into the fourth quarter.
For the first 14 minutes of the fourth quarter, Nebraska played its best lacrosse of the day holding Oklahoma off the scoreboard and notching three goals to take a 12-11 lead. Unfortunately for the Cornhuskers, the Sooners were able to capitalize on some late mistakes scoring with under 30 seconds remaining to tie the game and scoring a game-winning transition goal as time expired.
Willms once again led all players in scoring with six goals and one assist and senior midfielder Jamie Viera (Nantucket, Mass., Nantucket HS) scored two crucial man-up goals. Jordan made nine saves on 22 shots on goal by Oklahoma.
Next up for Nebraska (4-1, 1-0) is a pair of conference games on Saturday, March 14 against the University of Missouri (2-5, 0-0) at 3 p.m. and the University of Arkansas (2-2, 0-2) at 8 p.m. Both games will be in the Cook Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and admission will be free.
Willms currently leads the team in goals (23), assists (7) and points per game (6.00) ... Nebraska has started the season 4-1 for the second consecutive year tying the second-best start in program history (Cornhuskers went 5-0 in 2009) ... Nebraska can take control of first place in the GRLC DI West Division with two victories on Saturday ... Sophomore midfielder Caleb Milliken served as the game captain for the Friday, March 6 game against MSU-Mankato ... Junior attackman Ketcher Taylor was the game captain for the Sunday, March 8 game against Oklahoma
WEEKEND BOX SCORES