OMAHA-Paige Nielsen scored both goals on Wednesday in Lincoln Southeast's 2-0 victory over North Platte in the opening round of the Nebraska State Girls' Soccer Tournament at Creighton University.
NPHS ends its season with a 14-4 record, while Lincoln Southeast (17-1) will play Millard North in the state semifinals. Last year, Southeast and Millard North played for the state championship with Millard North winning.
Nielsen, who signed with national collegiate powerhouse North Carolina, scored both of her goals in the first half and Southeast sat on the two-goal lead for the rest of the game.
Wednesday's matchup was a rematch of a game the two teams played on March 27 at Madison Middle School. In that game, NPHS had two brief leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first half before the Knights scored right before halftime. In the second half, Southeast scored four unanswered goals to cruise away to a 6-2 win.
The loss to the Lady Knights marked the seventh state tournament appearance for North Platte. The Lady Bulldogs' only win at state came in 2005 when NPHS beat Omaha Central 6-0. In the semifinals that year, the Lady Dawgs fell 1-0 to eventual state champion Lincoln East.
The Bulldogs graduate five seniors in Breezy Jahnke, Natalie Poppe, Kenzie Michaels, Karissa Moreland and Ashley Lopez. Of those five, Jahnke, Poppe and Michaels played in North Platte's last state appearance in 2009 when the Lady Bulldogs lost 3-0 to Omaha Marian.