COLLEGE WOMEN: Nebraska's Jenna Cooper killed in shooting

Jenna Cooper, a three-year starter for the University of Nebraska women's soccer team who had played for the U.S. under-21 team, died Sunday evening in Lincoln, Neb., from injuries suffered in a shooting early Sunday morning.

Cooper, 21, succumbed following several hours of surgery. She was shot in the throat during a barbecue at her home celebrating the close of the Cornhuskers' spring season, according to reports in the Daily Nebraskan and Lincoln Journal Star.

The senior-to-be was a team captain and had started 69 of 70 games, most as a defender, in three seasons at Lincoln and led the Cornhuskers in minutes played last fall. She scored four goals with 25 assists, with 14 assists in 2003.

''Jenna was a great, great person, teammate and player,'' Nebraska coach John Walker said in a statement. ''It was an absolute pleasure to have her on the team and to know her as a friend and teammate.

''She had an unbelievable work ethic. She was kind and generous, well-respected by her teammates. She was a selfless person who always wanted to the best for the team. She so desperately wanted to be a great captain and took her leadership role seriously. Everyone who had the opportunity to meet her loved her. She was a wonderful, wonderful person. Any parent would be proud to have their daughter be like her.''

According to reports in Lincoln media, an argument over the theft of a shot glass led to the shooting. Police said Nolan Jenkins, one of about two dozen guests at the party, was the intended target and that the bullet glanced off his head and struck Cooper in the neck.

Lucky Iromuanya, 22, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault, use of a weapon to commit a felony and carrying a concealed weapon. Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey will decide this week whether to file additional charges, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

Cooper was Nebraska's lone representative on the All-Big 12 Conference first-team last fall, when she was used up front for the injury-riddled Cornhuskers. She was on the conference's newcomer all-star team as a freshman in 2001 and on the All-Big 12 Tournament team in 2002 after scoring the winning goal in the Huskers' championship-game victory over Texas.

She also saw action with the U.S. under-21 national team in 2002, 2003 and 2004. She was in the U-21s' first camp of this year last January in Carson, Calif.

Cooper was a two-time all-state player at Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, and Student Sports selected her to its All-America team during her senior year.

Cooper is survived by her parents, William and Ellen Cooper, and an older brother, Billy Cooper.

Services have not been announced. The family has asked that memorials in Cooper's honor be donated to the University of Nebraska soccer program.

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