Jaycie Johnson dreamed of playing for Nebraska since her first soccer camp when she was 10.
Now she's having a dream season for the Huskers.
The freshman forward from Kansas City, Mo., has scored a team-leading five goals and notched the game-winner in the Huskers' 2-1 win over San Diego on Sunday at the Kansas Invitational. She also has one assist.
“It's been beyond what I thought it would be,” Johnson said. “I really didn't plan on the season starting off as well as it did.”
Johnson said she put in a lot of work to be ready and now she's seeing the payoff. She's averaging nearly 60 minutes and has 19 shot attempts, nine on goal, heading into Thursday's Big Ten opener against Michigan State. She's already been named a Big Ten offensive player and freshman of the week.
The Missouri Gatorade player of the year in 2013 has helped spark a Husker offense that has outshot its opponents 154-83 through seven matches, including a 64-32 shots on goal advantage. Eight players have scored.
Johnson said the Huskers' communication is good and they trust each other, which has helped the offense click. It took her awhile to adjust to the speed of the college game, but she said the older players have been good about offering pointers in practices and games.
“We are doing it as one and not just as individuals,” Johnson said.
The Huskers are 16-1 all-time in league openers, but they'll be tested in Thursday's 2 p.m. game at the NU Soccer Complex. The Big Ten Network will televise the match.
The Spartans, with eight starters back, are 6-0-2. Their defense has given up only eight goals and has two shutouts.
NU allowed just three shots on goal in its wins over San Francisco and San Diego last weekend. They outshot those teams 38-25 thanks to a strong effort by the back line.
The Huskers are disappointed with their losses in a 4-2-1 campaign, but Johnson is hoping the team can build off those defeats. They motivate Johnson to get better.
“I feel like I've been a big help to the offense,” she said. “I just wanted to make the team better as much as I could.”