Mavericks Fall To Cyclones In Season Opening Exhibition

The Omaha Maverick Women’s Soccer team hosted the Iowa State Cyclones in a very early season exhibition.  The two teams played three, 30-minute periods, and fans were able to see most of the 2021 Maverick roster.  While the rain held off, the Mavericks were unable to hold off the Cyclones conceding a corner kick goal in the third period.

 Head Coach Tim Walters was able to hand debuts to four freshmen (Cece Behrens, Sena Ahovissi, Reagan Bourgeois, and Kayla Futakami) and three transfers (Mo Gohr, Meg Nemnich, and Rachel Thigpen).  Despite all of the new faces, Maverick fans would have noticed almost no changes from the starting line-up from Spring 2021 to opening day of Fall 2021.  The Mavericks are a team of youthful experience, but they are led by Senior Centerback Margaret LaVigne and Senior Forward Andrea Daves.

Exhibitions typically aren’t great for true game breakdowns, so below are some general thoughts about the Mavericks’ season from the game today.  Important not to read too much into the game as both teams have been into their season for less than a week.

New Players Show Well

I was impressed by the early showings of the new Mavericks.  Former Skutt Skyhawk standout Behrens made appearances in both the midfield and the defense, though I thought she was better in the former.  Even as a freshman, Behrens looks the part on the field.  Ahovissi, who was an integral part of Millard North’s successful 2021 season, showed well at outside back, showing good pace and defensive ability.  Bourgeouis and Futakami are the two freshmen I am least familiar with, but their performances today bode well for the future both this season and beyond.  As the freshmen continue to grow more comfortable with the team and the level of play, I expect them to come out of their shell and grow in their aggressiveness and speed of play

Gohr, a Kansas State transfer who trained with the Mavs this Spring, started up top for the Mavericks and should help generate more goal-scoring chances.  Nemnich, a Memphis transfer, will provide good competition and support in the midfield.  Finally, Rachel Thigpen, who had an outstanding career at NAIA Midland University, will provide some extra competition and mentorship for the other goalkeepers on the roster.  In the brief moments from Saturday’s scrimmage, it is of my opinion that Thigpen could have been a NCAA Division I goalkeeper her entire career, but she probably wouldn’t trade the success and experience she had at Midland for that.

Playing Out Of The Back

While it is early days for the Fall 2021 season, the Maverick backline showed signs of some of the things I saw them struggle with last season at times.  Composure on the ball, decision making, and execution when playing the ball out of the back caused some breakdowns last Spring, and we saw some of that again on Saturday.  There was some experimentation in the backline which certainly can lead to mistakes, and if you take Margaret Lavigne out of the equation the backline is quite young still.  I have no doubt that this will be an area of great growth, as the players the Mavericks have in the back are both talented enough and experienced enough to improve.  I expect that by the time conference season rolls around, some of those issues will be drastically improved or completely resolved.

Promising Midfield

Put aside the usual early season match sharpness critiques, and the Omaha midfield is looking very promising.  I think fans are going to enjoy watching both the starters and the depth that comes off the bench this season.  The coaching staff may have some selection headaches (in a good way) later this season and in the future, depending on how all of the players develop.  Regan Zimmers is an incredibly hard worker and covers an amazing amount of ground.  Grace Ostergaard is a tough but skilled player with already a ton of experience (over 1,500 minutes in the Spring).  Emilie Erland, Behrens, Meg Nemnich, Gracie Parsons, and Bourgeouis all bring something different to the table and give Coach Walters plenty of options this season.

Set Pieces

One thing I thought the Mavericks did really during the Spring 2021 season was both their attacking and defending of set pieces.  This was an area of struggle for them on Saturday, as Iowa State generated their best chances and eventually their goal off of set pieces.  The Mavericks did not generate much from their own corner kicks, but again, this is something I expect them to turn around.

I paid special attention to Behrens when she was in the mix for corner kicks.  Behrens was an incredible set piece target in her prep career and I expect that to continue into her college career.  She didn’t get on the end of a set piece on Saturday, but she escaped her marker every single time the Mavs had a set piece and she was on the field.


The Press

One thing I thought the Mavs did really well for early in the season was how they pressed and defended as a team at times.  When Iowa State had the ball in their backline, the Maverick forwards, midfielders, and outside backs did a great job of pressing and defending together causing Iowa State to play long or turn the ball over.  The Mavericks were a tough team to break down last season, and I expect that to continue this Fall.  This is something that is a very positive early season sign for the Mavericks, and leads into my next point.


Creating Chances

I think it is sometimes the most frustrating thing about early season exhibitions.  The attackers haven’t quite found their rhythm or connection yet.  That alone can be frustrating, and it is even more difficult when coming up against a challenging, Power 5 opponent.  The Mavericks return both Sophia Green (Summit League Newcomer of the Year) and Daves (UNO Division I career leader in assists) and also welcome Gohr to the attacking fold.  I think the Mavericks will fare better in the attack than they did on Saturday, but it may take a few games for the players and coaches to find the right combinations and the sharpness.


Final Thoughts

For a first week exhibition match against a Big XII opponent, I think the Mavericks played well.  It’s less than a month until Nebraska Soccer Talk plans on being in attendance for the UN derby, when the Mavericks travel down the road to take on the Cornhuskers.  I for one am really excited to see the growth between now and then.


The Mavericks play their entire conference season in the month of March this year, starting with Denver on October 1st and ending with South Dakota on Halloween.  My prediction and expectations for the Mavericks is another top 4 finish in the Summit League, and a trip to the 2021 Summit League Tournament.


Summit League Tournament Preview

The Summit League Women’s Soccer Championship kicks off with the semifinal games on Thursday, April 15th, and the championship game on the 17th.  The tournament is being played at Caniglia Field on the campus of University of Nebraska Omaha.  The first game (2 PM Kickoff) features the top seed University of Denver taking on the 4th seed University of South Dakota, and the second game (5 PM kickoff) features the hosts Omaha and the 2nd seed South Dakota State University.  This article will preview the tournament, the teams, and the match ups as we have an exciting week of soccer ahead of us.

The Tournament

While the Summit League may not be the toughest league when it comes to overall RPI, it’s tournament is one of the toughest postseason tournaments to qualify for.  Unlike most other Division I conferences, only 4 teams of the 9 make the Summit League conference tournament.  This differs greatly from other similar Division I mid-major conferences (see below for non-COVID year comparison).  The separation between the squads and the type of soccer that is played in the conference makes it a battle every year to make the tournament.  Personally, I think the Summit League Conference needs to consider bumping up the total number of teams to 6.  The winner of the conference tournament gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, it is unlikely but the Summit League may get two teams in, thanks in part to Denver and South Dakota State’s high RPI.

Conference Tournaments (non-COVID years)

Conference # of Teams in Conference # of Teams in Tournament
Summit League 9 4
Missouri Valley 9 6
WAC 9 6
America East 9 6
Patriot League 10 6

The Teams

#1 University of Denver

Record: 14-2-1 Overall, 14-1-1 Conference

RPI: 39

Coach: Jeff Hooker (29th Season)

Nebraska Players: 

  • None

Key Players:

  • Natalie Beckman, junior forward from Denver, CO, has tallied 10 goals and 12 assists for a total of 32 points.  She leads the Summit League in all three categories, and is probably the Summit League Offensive Player of the Year.
  • Taylor Parker, senior defender from Aurora, CO, has started and played in 15 games this Spring for the Pioneers.  Twice earning defensive player of the week honors, the 2019 Summit League First Teamer, is a leader and an important piece in Denver’s defense.


Denver is a really talented team and they have put together a really solid season, and they are deservedly receiving national attention for it.  With that said, they are not out of reach of the rest of the tournament field.  Both Omaha and South Dakota played to close 1 goal losses, with South Dakota taking Denver to overtime.  South Dakota State is the only conference team to put a notch in Denver’s “loss” column, the Jacks also tied Denver on that weekend.  Denver is also coming off a road trip to Kansas City last weekend, and it is a quick turnaround to travel again and play on Thursday.  While I fully expect the Pioneers to be in the championship game, don’t be surprised if they leave Omaha empty-handed and disappointed.

#2 South Dakota State University

Record: 12-0-4 Overall, 12-0-4 Conference

RPI: 41

Coach: Brock Thompson (4th season)

Nebraska Players:

  • Maureen Tolley (Sophomore) – Omaha, NE – Marian / Gretna Soccer Club
  • Reagan Anderson (Sophomore) – Omaha, NE – Elkhorn South / Gretna Soccer Club
  • Delaney Grant (Sophomore) – Omaha, NE – Millard North / Gretna Soccer Club
  • Cecilia Limongi (Junior) – Elkhorn, NE – Elkhorn South / Elite Girls Academy
  • Abigail Kastens (Junior) – Lincoln, NE – Waverly / Gretna Soccer Club

Key Players:

  • Maya Hansen, sophomore forward from Savage, MN, has tallied 7 goals and 2 assists for a total of 16 points.  Hansen started and played in all 16 matches for the Jacks, and was named Summit League Player of the Week after scoring a hat trick against UMKC.
  • Eden Brooker, senior midfielder from Santa Rosa, CA, has tallied 4 goals and 3 assists for a total of 11 points.  Brooker started and played in all 16 matches for the Jacks, and was twice named Summit League Player of the Week.


South Dakota State has quietly put together an excellent season.  No matter the circumstances, going unbeaten in a regular season is an impressive feat.  South Dakota State is the only conference team to get the better of Denver this year, and if it weren’t for the draws against fellow tournament teams South Dakota and Omaha, the Jacks would have been regular season champions and the 1 seed in the tournament.  South Dakota State’s match up against Omaha will be interesting, because the last time they competed was early in the season and the game was indoors which is a significantly different playing environment than what Caniglia will offer.  South Dakota State has solid Nebraska ties with 5 players who all contribute at a certain level, and Coach Brock Thompson is a native of Blair, Nebraska.

#3 Omaha

Record: 8-4-4

RPI: 119

Coach: Tim Walters (4th season)

Nebraska Players:

  • Grace Ostergaard (Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Millard West / Elite Girls Academy
  • Gracie Parsons (Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Burke / Sporting Omaha
  • Grace Crockett (Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Marian / Elite Girls Academy
  • Marissa Gohr (Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Elkhorn South / K-State / Elite Girls Academy
  • Alyssa Hansen (Freshman) – Lincoln, NE – Pius / Elite Girls Academy
  • Carly Cameron (R-Freshman) – Elkhorn, NE – Elkhorn
  • Maria Eubanks (R-Freshman) – Lincoln, NE – Lincoln East / Elite Girls Academy
  • Grace Thede (R-Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Marian / Sporting Omaha
  • Regan Zimmers (R-Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Millard North / Sporting Omaha
  • Madeline Smith (Sophomore) – Omaha, NE – Millard South / Lake Tahoe CC / Gretna SC
  • Laurin Mertz (Sophomore) – Omaha, NE – Skutt / Gretna Soccer Club
  • Mali Seran (R-Sophomore) – Omaha, NE – Marian / Sporting Omaha
  • Brylie Meyer (Junior) – Lincoln, NE – Pius / Elite Girls Academy
  • Leah Kirchner (Junior) – Omaha, NE – Millard West / Central MO / Elite Girls Academy

Key Players:

  • Andrea Daves, senior forward from Denver, CO, has tallied 5 goals and 2 assists on the season for a total of 12 points for the Mavericks.  Daves has provided both goals and leadership for this young Maverick team.
  • Margaret Lavigne, junior defender from St. Louis, MO, leads the Mavericks in minutes played and has been an ever present force in the Omaha backline this year.


Omaha was picked eighth in the Summit League preseason poll, and you can go back and see what our preview said about them as well.  The Mavericks have answered the critics and then some, putting together a good regular season together.  The Mavericks badly wanted to make the Summit League tournament, because no one wants to sit out of the tournament, especially as the hosts.  Omaha has achieved that goal, and their next challenge is going to be not settling for just being a part of the tournament.  They went to the final in 2018, and that is definitely possible for them to do again.

#4 University of South Dakota

Record: 9-6-1

RPI: 127

Coach: Michael Thomas (3rd season)

Nebraska Players:

  • Maggie Pallesen (Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Marian / Gretna Soccer Club
  • Tatum Lundgren (Freshman) – Omaha, NE – Burke / Gretna Soccer Club
  • Tiannah Moore (Junior) – Lincoln, NE – Lincoln Northeast / Gretna Soccer Club

Key Players:

  • Alexis Mitchell, Senior midfielder from Lee’s Summit, MO, has tallied 7 goals and 4 assists for a total of 18 points.  Mitchell has scored 4 goals and tallied 2 assists in the last 4 games, and she is also the most recent Summit League Player of the Week.
  • Abby Ostrem, Senior defender from Wylie, TX, has played and started in all 16 games for the Coyotes.  Ostrem has also tallied 3 assists, and is part of a USD defense that has only conceded 3 goals in the last 7 games.


After dropping a 4-0 decision on March 19th at South Dakota State, the University of South Dakota Coyotes have gone on a run.  They tied South Dakota State in the next game, and have not dropped a point since.  They sealed their place as the fourth seed with a great run of four games, sweeping both North Dakota and North Dakota State and outsourcing their opponents 15-0.  Coach Michael Thomas has done a great job since taking over at University of South Dakota 3 years ago, and he is hopeful that his squad can continue their run of form as they come up against Denver (where he spent 6 seasons as an assistant coach).


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Mavs, Roos Battle to 0-0 draw in Summit League Play

Despite a couple good opportunities in the second half and overtime, the University of Nebraska Mavericks were left with a single point on the road against the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos.  UNO forward Sophia Green led the Mavericks in shots, while Rileigh Kuhns registered the only two shots for the Roos.  Both teams’ keepers and their defenses kept shutouts, but it was the Roos’ keeper Mackenzie Caldwell who was the busier of the two.

NEST Quick Hits

  • The first half was fairly even, with a slight tilt to UNO.  UNO Junior Margaret Lavigne was a solid presence in the backline, but she also came away with the best chance of the first half.  Lavigne was denied an almost certain header goal by a brilliant save from Caldwell.
  • The game was physical throughout, but UNO’s Grace Crockett earned the only yellow card.  Crockett’s physicality and hard-tackling was present throughout the game.
  • The UNO Mavericks couldn’t quite put their attack together.  Their attackers all had good moments throughout the game, but not often at the same time.  Regan Zimmers was dangerous in the first half, Green was dangerous in the second half, and Grace Ostergaard popped up late to create some chances.
  • Grace Thede is becoming an important player for the Mavs.  She is a solid outside back, and when the Mavs need help unlocking a tough defense, the coaching staff moves her forward.  She was able to provide a spark for UNO in the second half and overtime, and nearly repeated her heroics from the USD game.
  • UMKC’s Emma Wilson (Westside HS alum) is an absolute force in the midfield for the Roos.  In her youth and club career, she was always a physical presence and a dictator of play, and she still gets it done at the college level.
  • A  point on the road is always good in a conference like the Summit League.  The Mavs probably deserved 3.  Caldwell made 3 incredible saves, and the Roos defense scrambled another one away.  Still, in a tight game like this, UMKC almost snatched victory late, but Bela Gonzalez was unable to force the ball over the line.


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First Half Goals Lift Mavs To Historic Dodge Street Derby Victory

Three first half goals, an opener by junior Ed Port and a brace by junior Hugo Kametani, along with a solid game-long defensive effort helped the University of Omaha Mavericks to a decisive victory over cross-town rival Creighton University.  The game was well-attended safely by supporters from both schools.  Today’s win was the Mavericks’ first ever competitive win over the Jays in four meetings.  This was also the first time the Mavericks shutout the Jays in competitive play.

The Mavericks put the Jays on the back foot right from the opening whistle.  Within 6 minutes, Port, a Reading, England native and Genesee Community College transfer, opened the scoring for the Mavericks after a defensive miscommunication in the backline.  The Mavericks kept the pressure up, and two minutes later scored the prettiest goal of the three.  Senior Nil Ayats threaded a great ball through to Kametani, who finished well for his third goal in three games.  Less than 15 minutes later, Kametani put the game to bed scoring his second goal by finishing a rebound from a Stevie Siy shot.

Save for a couple offside goals called back (one for each team), the second half was fairly sleepy.  Creighton was able to create a couple nice moments of build up, but wasn’t able to find the finishing product.  Callum Watson was active in both halves trying to create chances for the Jays.  The early goals took the edge off the traditional derby feel, but the second half did provide a few hard tackles and a yellow card to Creighton’s Landon Sloan.  The Mavericks move to 1-1, and the Jays fall to 1-1.

Both teams return to their respective conference schedules in what will feel more like a sprint and less like a marathon, as both teams play 8 games over the next 5 weeks.  UNO welcomes Western Illinois to town for a Thursday-Sunday set of games, and Creighton welcomes Xavier to town for a Saturday morning Big East tilt.

Game Notes

Player of the Game – Hugo Kametani.  The junior striker for the Mavericks has scored 4 goals in 3 games for UNO.  It will be hard for him to keep up that strike rate, but even if he slows down a little bit, he is going to be a force up top for Bob Warming’s squad.  He took his chances really well, and has a great work rate as a lead striker.  Hopefully he stays healthy and continues to score goals.

Pulling the Strings – Nil Ayats dished out two assists on the day, and he was fun to watch.  He was moving the ball well and playing some great passes.  I look forward to seeing how the senior from Spain performs the rest of the season.

Running down the Wing – Stevie Siy, a senior from Omaha Central, was active up and down the wing today.  The dynamic right back was present in both the defense and the attack.  For me, he was the best local player on display in today’s derby.

Shorthanded Jays – Creighton University was without Musa Qongo, Dominic Briggs, Cameron Briggs, and former Maverick Diego Gutierrez.

Tactical Thoughts – I thought Coach Bob Warming and the UNO staff got their tactics spot on and the Maverick players executed.  High pressure early in the game paid off, and the personnel choices in the backline kept the Blue Jay attackers mostly at bay.  Ed Gordon off the bench provided necessary work-rate and physicality in the midfield.  I don’t think the Creighton coaching staff necessarily got their tactics wrong, but the team as a whole came out flat, made some silly defensive errors, and didn’t execute on the final ball in the attacking third.


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University of Nebraska-Omaha – Men’s Soccer College Spotlight

Although it is rarely covered by the traditional media giants of the state, Nebraska is filled with exciting and competitive collegiate soccer programs. In fact, Nebraska contains a grand total of THIRTY programs for men and women. Those thirty programs compete across a wide variety of collegiate levels including Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, and junior college. 

Nebraska Soccer Talk is here to examine, cover, and promote all of these teams. This task has been made a bit more challenging by the circumstances created by COVID-19. Depending on the playing level, conference, and school, the season outlook changes drastically. Roster information can also be in flux, depending on the school. Despite these challenges, our staff attempted to put together the best program summaries possible. To our knowledge, we are the only outlet providing such coverage to our state’s college programs. 

Just like Nebraska Soccer Talk, this column will grow and become more in depth as the years pass. In the future, we hope to provide sideline coverage of games, facility features, coach and player interviews. We look forward to the journey ahead. Thank you for being a part of our community. The sport of soccer is growing in Nebraska, we intend to see it thrive. 

Disclaimer – In the making of this article, team websites and other research sources were utilized. Although we attempt to avoid them whenever possible, errors can occur. Please contact us directly with corrections.

University of Nebraska-Omaha Men’s Soccer

Head Coach – Bob Warming

Warming has a great coaching history in the Big Ten. He is a big-time coach, and UNO is fortunate to have him. Warming took over in 2018, and we can see if his previous success eventually applies to UNO. As of right now, the roster has been overturned with many transfers in the last year, and the honeymoon period is coming to an end. UNO is one of two D1 men’s programs in the state, which automatically makes it a flagship. In order for soccer to grow in Nebraska, the state has to have success at the highest of levels.

Assistant Coaches – Grant Warming, Ugo Tritz

The assistant coaches are relatively inexperienced at this level and are assisted by a close relationship with the head man. Both were successful college players, hopefully it translates into the coaching sphere. Kudos to Warming for giving young coaches a chance – time to prove him right.

Mascot – Mavericks

Year Regular Season Record Summit Conference Record
2019 4-9-4 2-2-1
2018 7-8-1 4-1-0
2017 10-6-3 2-1-2
2016 10-5-4 5-0-1


Nebraska Homegrown Players On Roster – 

  • #2 Stevie Siy – Omaha Central – Sr – D
  • #6 Ed Gordon – Creighton Prep – Sr – Mid
  • #15 Zion Osorio – Lincoln East – So – D
  • #16 Mauricio Felix-Alvarado – Omaha South – Fr. – D
  • #19 Michael Monico – Gross Catholic – So – Mid
  • #24 Gonzalo Ledesma – South Sioux City – R-Sr – D
  • #26 Youde (Junior) Noutoua – Creighton Prep – Jr – Mid
  • #29 Jonathan Lopez – Millard South – Sr. – Mid

8/24 = 33%

NEST Analysis – There are ten transfers now on the roster – eight of those are from a JuCo or lower level squad. That is a major shake up in a short amount of time for Warming’s squad. Hopefully they are correct in their evaluation process. This is a team that made the NCAA tournament in 2017 which is right where this program should be. That is the expectation, but we will see if year three is when everything clicks.

Thank you for reading and being a part of our new community. A like, share, or recommendation of content would be greatly appreciated. In order to financially support our efforts, sponsorship/partnership opportunities have become available. Sponsors will receive vast exposure to the Nebraska soccer community through multiple different media avenues. The sponsorship process is easy and reasonable.

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