Nebraska soccer announced its 2012 schedule, with the Huskers set to play 19 games in their second season as members of the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers face six teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year, including Virginia Tech and Penn State, who each made Sweet 16 appearances.
The 2012 campaign kicks off on Friday, Aug. 17, in Norman, Okla., when the Huskers visit the Oklahoma Sooners for a 1 p.m. game at John Crain Field. NU leads the all-time series with the Sooners, 12-2-1, and it is the first meeting between the two programs since Nebraska left the Big 12 Conference following the 2010 season.
For the third straight year the Huskers will play host to 10 home games, including non-conference visits from Drake, Virginia Tech, New Mexico, Southeast Missouri State and Northern Colorado. NU opens play at the Nebraska Soccer Field on Sunday, Aug. 19, against the Drake Bulldogs at 1 p.m. The games against Virginia Tech and New Mexico take place during the Husker Classic, on Friday, Aug. 24 and Sunday, Aug. 26. Iowa State will also be in Lincoln that weekend, but will not play the Huskers.
Also during non-conference play, Nebraska makes a trip to Baylor on Friday, Aug. 31, after the two teams tied, 1-1, last year in Lincoln and the Huskers play the Cincinnati Bearcats for the first time in program history on Sunday, Sept. 2, at Gettler Stadium.
Big Ten Conference play opens on Friday, Sept. 14, with a trip to Evanston, Ill., to play the Northwestern Wildcats. The Huskers shut out the Wildcats, 3-0, last season in NU’s first ever Big Ten Conference event in any sport.
The Huskers then return to Lincoln for a game with Northern Colorado before hosting a pair of conference games against Purdue on Friday, Sept. 21, and Indiana on Sunday, Sept. 23.
Nebraska heads back on the road for three straight games against Michigan State (Sept. 28), Michigan (Sept. 30) and Wisconsin (Oct. 5). The Huskers will be looking to post roads wins at each school after the Spartans, Wolverines and Badgers each left Lincoln with a victory last season.
The premier home game of the season takes place on Friday, Oct. 14, when the Penn State Nittany Lions and reigning Big Ten Forward-of-the-Year Maya Hayes come to Lincoln for a 4 p.m. game at the Nebraska Soccer Field. The Nittany Lions have won or earned a share of the past 14 Big Ten women’s soccer regular-season titles. The weekend also includes a showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday, Oct. 14 at Noon. The Huskers beat the Buckeyes, 3-2, in Columbus last year in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Nebraska’s road schedule wraps up with a visit to Iowa City on Thursday, Oct. 18, to play the Iowa Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. and at Illinois on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m. The Fighting Illini won the Big Ten Conference Tournament last year and return Big Ten Midfielder-of-the-Year Vanessa DiBernardo.
The regular season concludes on Friday, Oct. 26, with a visit from the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Senior Day. The Huskers won the first five meetings in the all-time series with Minnesota, before the Gophers won 6-3 last year at home.
Nebraska will look to be one of eight teams that qualifies for the Big Ten Conference Tournament, which is scheduled to be played in Bloomington, Ind., at Armstrong Stadium. Hosted over five days from Wednesday, Oct. 31 to Sunday, Nov. 4, the Hoosiers automatically earn a bid to the tournament as the host school. The winner of the tournament earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.