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Creighton visits Milwaukee for an exhibition match Sunday.
Courtesy: Jamie Byrnes

Men's Soccer Begins Its Exhibition Week at Milwaukee

OMAHA, Neb. – The Creighton men's soccer team travels to Wisconsin-Milwaukee for an exhibition match at 1 p.m. CT Sunday.

The match marks the first exhibition for both Creighton and Milwaukee on the 2014 slate. The Bluejays and the Panthers claimed NCAA Tournament bids in 2013. As a result, CU and UWM received votes in the 2014 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Preseason Top 25 Poll.

Creighton collected 14 votes and Milwaukee tallied two votes in the poll released Aug. 6. The Bluejays are the sixth team listed in schools also receiving votes, placing them at No. 31 overall in the national rankings.

The contest at Milwaukee is CU’s first exhibition on the road since 2011, a 2-2 tie at Notre Dame. The Jays are undefeated in exhibition matches under head coach Elmar Bolowich at 2-0-4. CU is undefeated in its last nine preseason contests with a 5-0-4 record. Creighton has not dropped an exhibition match since a 4-2 setback at the Kansas City Wizards in 2009.

The Bluejays are 3-1-1 all-time against the Panthers in regular season contests including a 1-0-1 mark in Milwaukee.

Last Week

8/15: Blue-White Scrimmage, 2-2

This Week

8/17: at Milwaukee (Ex.), 1 p.m. CT – Milwaukee, Wis.

8/22: No. 21 Wisconsin (Ex.), 7 p.m. CT – Morrison Stadium

What’s at Stake

·       Creighton looks to remain undefeated in its last 10 exhibition matches.

Following the Jays

Fans can follow all of the action Sunday by clicking on the live stats button at GoCreighton.com or follow @GoCreighton on Twitter. Live steaming video for the match can be found here: http://www.horizonleague.org/live/11617

Scouting the Creighton Bluejays (2013 record: 9-8-2, 4-4-1 BIG EAST)

Creighton enters its first exhibition match of the season after a 2-2 draw in the annual Blue-White scrimmage on Friday inside Morrison Stadium.

The teams played a pair of 30-minute halves in the scrimmage as sophomore Fabian Herbers and junior Brendan Hines-Ike each scored twice for their respective squads. Freshmen Jacob Cini and Lucas Stauffer posted assists, as did junior Timo Pitter.

Twenty-two Bluejays saw their first minutes on the pitch during the scrimmage, including all 11 newcomers.

Creighton returns its top four scorers from last season in Pitter, Herbers, senior Jose Ribas and junior Christian Blandon. Redshirt senior Sean Kim also returns after an injury in 2013. Kim scored six points in five matches last season.

The Jays also return both goalkeepers from last season in redshirt senior Alex Bolowich and junior Connor Sparrow. The goalies combined for a 1.09 goals against average and six shutouts in 2013.

Five 2013 All-BIG EAST selections return for the Jays including Pitter, Ribas, Herbers, Hines-Ike and sophomore Ricardo Perez. The Bluejays welcome 11 newcomers to the squad but lose the services of 2014 MLS Draft selections Eric Miller and Zach Barnes.

Scouting the Milwaukee Panthers (15-3-2, 5-2-0 Horizon)

Milwaukee enters the exhibition following a successful 2013 campaign. The Panthers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history after claiming the Horizon League Tournament title with a 2-0 victory over UIC. Milwaukee suffered a 1-0 setback at Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Panthers lost just three matches in 2013. All three of Milwaukee’s losses were also one-goal decisions. Besides the postseason loss Wisconsin, the Panthers fell in 2-1 in double overtime to Green Bay and dropped a 1-0 regular-season contest at UIC.

Milwaukee owned a 6-1-2 record at home last season and finished the year with a final NCAA RPI ranking of 31.

Senior midfielder Laurie Bell leads the Panther attack after topping the Horizon League with 13 goals and 30 points. Bell earned 2013 NSCAA All-America laurels and Horizon league Player of the Year honors. This preseason Bell earned recognition on the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list and claimed a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer Preseason First-Team Best XI.

Two other All-Horizon League selections return for the Panthers this season. Senior midfielder Luke Goodnetter scored two goals and 10 points for the Panthers while junior midfielder Declan Rodriguez notched three goals and eight points in 2013.

Sophomore goalkeeper Liam Anderson played every minute of 2013 for Milwaukee. The keeper finished his freshman campaign in net with a 0.63 goals against average.

UWM head coach Kris Kelderman is in his third season with the Panthers compiling a 23-11-4 ledger. The Virginia graduate played for the Cavaliers during the first few years of CU head coach Elmar Bolowich’s tenure at Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina. He helped UVA win the 1989 National Championship and later spent four seasons in MLS.

 Record in the Badger State

Creighton owns a 5-4-2 record in regular season games in the state of Wisconsin. The Jays are 1-0-1 at Milwaukee, 3-1-1 at Wisconsin and 1-3 at BIG EAST foe Marquette.

CU suffered a 1-0 setback at Marquette in its last appearance in the state last season. The Bluejays last played at UWM in 1999, claiming a 3-0 victory.

Tough 2014 Slate

The Bluejays’ 2014 schedule features five regular-season contests against 2013 NCAA Tournament teams, including four from the Jays’ nine-match BIG EAST conference slate. CU also hosts No. 21 Wisconsin in an exhibition match later this week.

The Jays’ will host 12 opponents and travel to play six other squads in the 2014 regular season. The slate is highlighted by nine matches against teams that finished among the top 50 in the final 2013 NCAA RPI; six of those are home contests.

Starting in mid-October, Creighton will face the other four BIG EAST squads that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year in a span of just under a month to close out the regular season. The Bluejays battle three opponents that advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2013 including No. 9 Georgetown, No. 12 Marquette and No. 20 Stanford.

Ranked Foes in 2014

Creighton is one of four BIG EAST programs to receive votes from the NSCAA in the 2014 preseason poll. The other conference schools in the poll include No. 9 Georgetown and No. 12 Marquette. St. John's received 10 votes in the rankings while the Jays netted 14 votes.

In addition to the trio of contests against BIG EAST foes that received votes, Creighton's schedule involves three other teams that earned votes in the poll. The Jays open the regular season at home against No. 20 Stanford on Aug. 29. Two other 2014 non-conference foes also claimed votes in Saint Louis (10) and Tulsa (5).

2013 in Review

Creighton finished last year unranked on a three-game skid while compiling a 9-9-2 overall mark following an NCAA Tournament First Round setback against Seattle.

CU played a lot of tight matches in 2013 as each of the Jays’ nine losses came by a single goal. The Bluejays completed their first season in the BIG EAST Conference with a 4-4-1 mark and a fifth-place finish.

The Jays climbed as high as No. 1 in the 2013 rankings on September 10 – the first time since 1999 that CU held the top spot. Overall, the Bluejays found themselves ranked in nine NSCAA weekly polls during the last regular season.

Fourth-year head coach Elmar Bolowich leads the Jays in their quest for the program’s 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 23 seasons in 2014. Creighton returns 13 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team.

Inaugural BIG EAST Season Review

Creighton ended its conference season in Providence with a pair of 2-1 setbacks to the Friars in the regular-season finale and a BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal match.

CU never dipped below the .500 mark in conference and toggled between wins and losses over its last five league matches. Overall, Creighton won three of its last five regular-season matches after a three-game scoreless drought in mid-October.

The Jays were 3-1 at home in BIG EAST matches beginning with a 1-0 overtime defeat of St. John’s in its conference debut (Sept. 21), a 2-0 win over Xavier (Oct. 5) a 1-0 overtime setback to Villanova (Oct. 19) and a 5-1 victory over DePaul (Nov. 2) on Senior Day.

The Bluejays’ road record in conference can be deceiving at 1-3-1 this season. All three losses were settled by a single goal. In fact the only two league matches not decided by a single goal or less last year were CU victories over Xavier (2-0) and DePaul (5-1) at home.

Creighton finished 2-2-1 against the fellow 2013 BIG EAST tournament teams. The Jays tied No. 1 seed Georgetown in Washington D.C., lost at No. 2 Marquette and at No. 4 Providence while defeating No. 3 Xavier 2-0 at home and No. 6 Butler 3-2 on the road.

CU was 2-6-1 in true road contests in 2013 including a 1-3-1 mark in conference.

Jays Rank Among the Top 10 in Home Attendance for 11th Straight Season

With 27,156 fans attending matches last season, Creighton ranked sixth nationally in total home attendance. The Jays finished fourth in average home attendance in 2013 at 2,716 fans per contest.

Over 5,200 fans witnessed Creighton’s 1-0 double-overtime defeat of No. 7 St. John’s in the Jays’ BIG EAST debut on Sept. 21 at Morrison Stadium. The crowd of 5,282 ranked as the sixth-largest crowd ever to attend a collegiate match at the Bluejays’ home. The match also ranked No. 10 in single-game attendance nationally last season.

The total edged out a contingent of 5,102 Bluejay faithful that witnessed CU defeat Columbia 3-1 earlier in the season on Sept. 6. That crowd ranks No. 7 all-time in the Creighton record books for single-match home attendance.

Creighton is now 5-7-1 in front of 5,000-plus fans since 2000.

At then-No. 22 Saint Louis on Oct. 2, 3,070 fans packed Hermann Stadium to watch the Bluejays battle the Billikens last season. It marked the largest crowd in a regular-season true road contest to see the Jays play since 5,648 fans saw CU visit then-No. 3 Maryland on Sept. 30, 2011.

In 2012, then-No. 2 Creighton fell 2-1 to then-No. 14 Old Dominion on Sept. 14 in front of 6,848 fans – the top home crowd all-time at Morrison Stadium.

Jays Achieve No. 1 Ranking for the First Time in 14 Years

Following a 3-1 victory over Columbia on Sept. 6, 2013 Creighton became the top squad in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll released four days later.

It marked the Jays’ first time back in the top spot since September 1999. Creighton was ranked as high as No. 2 in each of the last three seasons including last fall.

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Morrison Stadium