By LINDSEY MORRISON
NORMAN– The Oklahoma soccer team dropped a heartbreaking season opener with a 2-1 loss to Nebraska Thursday night at John Crain Field.
With just three minutes left, the Sooners were holding on to a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal in the first half by Ivanna Rivas. However, two quick goals from the Huskers would spoil the night.
“We have to take something from that to move forward with because for 87 minutes we bent but we did not break,” head coach Matt Potter said. “We did the hardest part in the game which is to go a goal ahead and that was pleasing. We found out more about ourselves which is the most important thing here. I thought they played well and for us it is about learning from this. That is exactly what we will go tell them now, sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.”
Nebraska used a header from Faith Carter to tie the game in the 87th minute, before utilizing a free kick off the foot of Brenna Ochoa in the 88th minute to earn the 2-1 win.
Rivas notched the first goal of the season for the Sooners on a beautiful curling kick across the goal mouth in the 11th minute. Freshman Megan Reilly made a run down the right side, crossing the ball into Rivas just outside the six-yard box. Rivas shot across her body, sending the ball inside the far post to give OU the 1-0 lead.
“Ivanna Rivas has had an exceptional preseason, deserved the opportunity to start and proved us right,” Potter said. “In terms of Megan Reilly, she is a player that is young, that is in a group of players that are young that we think can help improve our program and put it back to where it belongs. Without a doubt it never hurts to get new faces and young faces into games of this magnitude this early in the season.”
OU played the last 17 minutes down a player as Kristina O’Donnell was issued her second yellow card of the game, causing her to be ejected.
Nebraska outshot the Sooners 15-4 on the night, with a 4-3 shots-on-goal advantage.
“What we have to understand is that we have to have the quality and discipline to finish out these games, to win games so that was the learning of tonight,” Potter said. “Credit to Nebraska, they stuck to their task. The fact that we went 87 minutes and bent but did not break, two set pieces is what broke us down, those are things that we can continue to learn from and fix.”
Next up, the Sooners will travel to in-state rival Oklahoma State for the first of two Bedlam matches this season. OU and OSU will face off on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Stillwater.