OMAHA, Neb. - In a repeat of the NCAA Tournament second round contest last November, the No. 3 Creighton Bluejays downed Northern Illinois 3-1 on Friday, Aug. 24 in Morrison Stadium.
On Nov. 20, 2011, the Jays eliminated the Huskies from the NCAA Tournament, 3-0.
Following a scoreless first half that saw the Jays outshoot the Huskies 12-1, the floodgates opened.
Northern Illinois struck first as Mike Mascitti tipped a throw in from Rocco Taglia to James Stevenson for a goal. Stevenson struck Mascitti's pass with his right foot and snuck the ball past Creighton goalkeeper Jeff Gal from 15 yards out. The goal came at 66:54.
Creighton didn't take long to respond as junior Sean Kim collected his first collegiate goal in the 69th minute at 68:24. Kim's goal was assisted by sophomore Jose Ribas, who found Kim open along the right side.
Tied at 1-1 the night skies turned into sheets of rain. The results was more opportunities to score, something the Jays took full advantage of.
The 80th minute of the game saw junior Carlos McCrary display some spectacular skills. McCrary took a pass from freshman Timo Pitter about 30 yards in front of the net, dribbled past two defenders and finally fired in his first goal for Creighton.
Just over six minutes later at 86:16 Kim put the game out of reach with his second goal of the game. Kim grabbed possession after a fierce shot from Pitter was deflected to the right. Kim sent home his second goal off his right foot to the right corner.
Creighton finished the contest with a 20-5 edge on shots and held a 4-1 corner advantage.
Friday's victory set a Creighton record with 16 consecutive home wins, dating back to 2010 NCAA Tourney win over New Mexico, 4-1, on Nov. 18. The Jays last loss at home came to Bradley on Nov. 6, 2010, 2-1.
This is the third straight season a newcomer has scored the first goal of the season in the season opener. Jose Gomez notched a goal in 2010 as the Bluejays defeated Loyola (2-0). Last season it was Guido Pena helping Creighton down Denver 1-0. This season newcomers Kim and McCrary both notched their first goal as a Jay in the win over Northern Illinois.
Kim's two goals mark the first time since 2008 a Jays has reached the back of the net twice in a season opener. Jeff Thayer posted two goals that year, while current Creighton assistant coach Johnny Torres notched two goals to open the season in 1999.Gal finished the game with two saves for Creighton, while Jordan Godsey had eight for the Huskies.
The Jays return to action on Friday, Aug. 31 as Creighton hosts the Ameritas Classic featuring Rutgers, SIU-Edwardsville, No. 10 Akron and the Jays. Creighton will face off with Akron at 7:30 p.m., while Rutgers and SIU-Edwardsville battle at 4:30 p.m. The battle of Creighton and Akron will be televised in Nebraska on NET.