OMAHA, Neb. (Nov. 12) - The Creighton men's soccer team earned the No. 12 seed in the 2012 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament this afternoon in pairings announced on NCAA.com. As a result, the Bluejays claimed a first-round bye in the 48-team tournament and will host the winner of Thursday's Air Force at Washington match on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Morrison Stadium in Omaha.
The Jays came into Selection Monday at No. 11 nationally in the latest RPI released by the NCAA on Sunday. Creighton stood at No. 12 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll released on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Creighton (15-3-2) earned its 20th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 21 years by virtue of Sunday's 2-1 win over SIU Edwardsville in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament final. It marked Creighton's 13th MVC Tournament title, and came on the heels of the program's 12th regular-season MVC crown. The Jays claimed both trophies for the second consecutive season and for the eighth time in program history.
After the 2-1 win over SIUE in Sunday's final, the Jays are 11-1 in games decided by one goal this season. Creighton is tied for No. 8 nationally with a 0.50 shutout percentage. The Jays rank No. 15 in the country with a 0.835 save percentage and stand at No. 16 nationwide with a 0.77 goals against average.
Creighton is 26-16-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and has advanced to at least the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in five of its last nine appearances. The Jays have made four College Cup appearances (1996, 2000, 2002 and 2011).
Elmar Bolowich is the head coach of the Bluejays. He has guided his teams to four consecutive College Cups (Creighton - 2011 and North Carolina - 2008, 2009, 2010) and won a national title with the Tar Heels in 2001. This will be Bolowich's 17th NCAA Tournament appearance as a head coach.
Creighton had four men named to the All-MVC First Team this fall, led by Player of the Year Jose Gomez, Defensive Player of the Year Andrew Ribeiro and Freshman of the Year Timo Pitter alongside sophomore Eric Miller. Gomez also garnered MVC All-Tournament Team MVP honors. Ribeiro, Miller and senior Brent Kallman joined Gomez on the All-Tournament squad.
Creighton, 8-2-1 at home this season, is 10-1-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches played at Morrison Stadium and enters the NCAA Tournament on a 10-match win streak, six of which have been shutouts.
Air Force (10-8-4) claimed an automatic NCAA bid by winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament championship game over New Mexico on penalty kicks (5-3) in Albuquerque, N.M., after the Falcons posted a game-tying goal with 16 seconds left in regulation. The Falcons last participated in the NCAA Tournament in 1997, when they lost to Creighton 3-2 in the first round at the Academy. CU is 4-4-2 all-time against Air force with a 2-2 record at home in Omaha and a 1-1 mark in NCAA tournament matches.
Washington (12-4-3) earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament after finishing second in the Pac-12 at 7-1-2. Current UW head coach Jamie Clark coached one season at Creighton in 2010 before moving on to Seattle. Clark went 13-5-2 with the Jays and claimed the MVC regular-season title that year. CU is 5-2 all-time against Washington with a 2-0 record at home in Omaha. Creighton fell 3-0 at Washington in the schools' only NCAA meeting in 2006.
Should Creighton win its second-round match and the seeds hold, it would set up a rematch with the No. 5 seed Akron (17-1-2) in the third round. The Jays hosted the Zips on Aug. 31 in a battle of top-10 teams. That match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Men's soccer season ticket holders can purchase their regular season seat locations for Sunday's second-round match by stopping by the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center Ticket Office tomorrow, Wednesday or Thursday from 9:00 a.m., - 4:30 p.m. Season ticket holders can also purchase their regular season seat locations for Sunday's second-round match by stopping by the Wayne & Eileen Ryan Athletic Center Ticket Office on Friday from 9:00 a.m., - 4:30 p.m. Seats not purchased by season ticket holders by 4:30 p.m., on Friday will be made available to the general public starting at 10:00 a.m., on Saturday. Ticket prices for the second-round NCAA match are $20 (upper level adult reserved), $15 (upper level youth reserved), $9 (lower level adult reserved or general admission) and $6 (lower level youth reserved or general admission, ages 3-18). Starting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., fans that are not season ticket holders can purchase available tickets to the second-round match at all Ticketmaster locations (Baker's, Younkers), Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster and charging by phone at 800-745-3000.
Men's soccer supporters who received a packet of parking passes to the South lot of Morrison Stadium prior to the season should use the one marked "NCAA Second Round" for entry to that area on Sunday. Should the Bluejays be victorious in their second-round match Sunday afternoon, they could host a third-round match on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 5:00 pm.