By Jared Meyer, Contributor
The UNO women’s soccer team capped off a perfect week with a dramatic 1-0 overtime victory in Saturday’s senior day matchup with Washburn University. With another 1-0 victory earlier in the week at Western Illinois, the Mavs improved their record to 5-6-1 and have a chance to get to .500 with one game left in the season.
Saturday’s victory came in the final home game of the season and the final home game in the careers of seniors Maggie Olson, Hilary Jackson and Hayley Renshaw. Junior midfielder Amber Bilodeau’s goal 5 minutes into the second overtime period gave UNO just their second two-game winning streak of the season.
“It was a great day and we had a great crowd,” said assistant coach Ted Anderson. “Not getting to play in Omaha very much this year and having a win like this on the last home game. It was special because this year has been so different from any other, and the seniors were pretty excited after getting a win like that.”
A crowd of 604 saw the Mavs come out with early pressure, putting 13 shots on the Lady Blues net. Jackson had two shots in the first 10 minutes, one of which Washburn goalkeeper Tori Fuglister had to tip over the crossbar.
Despite holding a 13-3 advantage in shots and a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks, the first 45 minutes produced no goals for the UNO offense. Neither side could muster much in the second half and the match went into overtime.
After 30 shots and 105 minutes of play, Bilodeau’s goal finally ended it and sent the Maverick bench into celebration. Sophomore forward Katie Pickinpaugh picked up the ball at midfield and worked her way to the edge of the 18-yard penalty box.
Her pass at the edge of the box went left to Bilodeau who fired the game-winner into the upper right corner of the Washburn net. It was Bilodeau’s second goal of the year.
Although the Maverick offense put 15 shots on goal, Anderson said it might have been his team’s defense that was the key to eventually finding the game winner.
“We played smart and limited chances from the other team,” Anderson said. “When we secure the back line, it gives us chances to get more shots.”
UNO’s win Thursday over Western Illinois snapped a four game losing streak. Pickinpaugh’s goal in the 34th minute proved to be all the Mavs would need to get the victory against the Leathernecks.
Though UNO had 11 shots in the match, Pickinpaugh’s goal was the only one that ended up on net. Sophomore goalkeeper Katelyn Tschida had seven saves in the shutout victory.
Thursday’s win was the third over a Division I opponent and the second over a future Summit League opponent. The Mavs split four games played against future conference opponents this season, beating South Dakota and Western Illinois, while falling to North Dakota St. and UMKC.
The Mavs now head to Greely, Colo. to face Northern Colorado in the final match of the season, Friday evening. UNO will be going for a third straight shutout, third straight victory and a shot at evening up their record 6-6-1.
“We’d like to get a third straight shutout and think that would be a big step for us next year,” said Anderson. “It would also be a tremendous mark to end the season at .500 because it has been such a tough year.”