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Creighton seeks its 13th MVC Tournament title Sunday afternoon.
Courtesy: Eric Francis

Men's Soccer Battles SIUE in MVC Final Sunday

OMAHA, Neb. (Nov. 10) - The No. 12 Creighton men's soccer team will seek its 13th Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Men's Soccer Championship title against second-seeded SIU Edwardsville in a 1 p.m. Sunday match at Bradley's Shea Stadium in Peoria, Ill.

The top-seeded Jays knocked off fifth-seeded Drake 3-2 in double overtime in a Friday semifinal to advance to the conference championship game. SIUE blanked sixth-seeded Central Arkansas 2-0 in the other Friday night semifinal to advance.

Last week CU claimed the outright regular season title with the victory marking the program's 12th regular-season MVC title. Creighton is looking to capture the MVC Tournament title in the same season it is the MVC regular-season champion for the eighth time in program history. 

Last Week:

11/3: W, 2-1 at Evansville

This Week:

11/9: W, 3-2 (5) Drake (2OT) - MVC Semifinal at Peoria, Ill.

 11/11: vs. (2) SIUE, 1 p.m. - MVC Final at Peoria, Ill.

MVC Championship Television Information:

Sean Wheelock (play-by-play) and Ty Keough (analyst) will call the title contest. The telecast will be carried live on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana and FOX Sports Kansas City. Additionally, FOX College Sports Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet Chicago will broadcast the match live. Fans outside of the Valley footprint (the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska) can view the match on ESPN3.

NCAA Men's Soccer Selection Show on Monday:

The Bluejays will be looking to lock up the MVC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a win Sunday.  Should CU not win the match, the Jays will look to the selection committee to award them their 20th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 21 years.  

The Division I Men's Soccer Selection Show will stream live on NCAA.com on Monday, Nov. 12 at 4:30 p.m.

Scouting the No. 12 Creighton Bluejays (14-3-2, 5-0-1 MVC):

The No. 12 Creighton men's soccer team edged Drake 3-2 in double overtime in an MVC Men's Soccer Championship semifinal hosted by Bradley in Peoria, Ill., Friday afternoon. The Jays face No. 2 seed SIU Edwardsville in a 1 p.m. Sunday match for the conference crown.

Creighton freshman Vincent Keller scored his second goal of the season in the 107th minute to give the Bluejays a come-from-behind victory. Sophomore Eric Miller and senior Brent Kallman assisted on the winning score. Miller scored his first career goal then notched his first assist of the season on the game-winner scored by Keller.

The Bluejays are seeking their 13th Valley tourney crown. Creighton will appear in its 16th MVC tournament championship match in 22 seasons on Sunday, its sixth appearance in the last eight finals. All-time at the MVC Tournament, the Jays have lost in the quarterfinals once, the semifinals five times, in the championship match three times and won the other 12 tournaments in which they've appeared. CU is now 32-8-1 all-time after Friday night's victory over Drake.

The Bluejays and SIUE have never met in the MVC Tournament. Creighton leads the all-time series 5-4-1 after a 1-0 double overtime victory over the Cougars in Omaha on Oct. 6. CU is 5-0-1 against SIUE in the past six meetings and 5-1-1 since restarting the program in 1990. The Jays are 2-0-1 against SIUE as members of the MVC.

With one goal allowed in conference play this year Creighton's shutout defense set a new MVC team record for the fewest goals allowed in a Valley season. The 2012 Jays moved ahead of three teams, including CU's 1995 squad, who shared the previous all-time low record of two goals allowed in a conference season.

Entering the first week of the postseason, Creighton ranks No. 7 nationally with a 0.56 shutout percentage (10-of-18 matches). The Jays also rank No. 10 in the country in save percentage (0.85) and stand at No. 11 nationally for team goals against average (0.70).

Freshman Timo Pitter leads the team with eight goals and 19 points this season. Senior co-captain Jose Gomez is second on the team with five goals and 18 points in 2012. Freshman goalkeeper Jeff Gal posted his 10th consecutive victory on Friday. He leads the MVC in goals against average (0.49) and save percentage (.884) heading into the final.

Scouting the SIUE Cougars (13-6-4, 4-2 MVC):

Second-seeded SIU Edwardsville blanked sixth-seeded Central Arkansas 2-0 Friday evening in an MVC Tournament semifinal to earn the right to battle Creighton for the conference title.

SIUE is ranked No. 32 in the nation in the RPI. The Cougars are a perfect 13-0 when it scores first and 0-6 when its opponent scores first this season. They are also 9-0 when leading at halftime.

The Cougars are 6-5 away from home this season. SIUE has posted a shutout victory in eight contests this season and entered the week ranked No. 42 nationally with a 0.39 shutout percentage.

SIUE sophomore Christian Volesky leads MVC with nine goals this season and leads the Cougars with 18 points in 2012. Senior Peter Kelly is second on the squad with five goals and 13 points. Devon Newport and Ryan Bauer lead the Cougars with five assists apiece.

The Cougars have split time in goal this season between junior John Berner and freshman Kent Kobernus. In 13 starts, Berner is 10-3 overall. He carries a 0.77 GAA and a 0.808 save percentage. Kobernus has allowed five goals in seven games played for a 0.82 GAA and a .773 save percentage.

The Last Meeting

On Oct. 6 the No. 24 Creighton men's soccer team posted its ninth consecutive shutout of an MVC opponent as senior Andrew Ribeiro scored the game-winning goal with 4:07 left in double overtime to defeat Southern Illinois Edwardsville 1-0 at Morrison Stadium in Omaha.

Just past the midway point of the second overtime session, Ribeiro scored off a header from 10 yards out after a perfect crossing pass from sophomore Jose Ribas. The goal was the first of the season for the Bluejay co-captain. It marked Ribas' third helper of the year.

The Jays shut out an opponent for the third straight match Saturday after blanking Loyola-Chicago (Oct. 2) and Drake (Sept. 29).

Cutting It Close

After a 3-2 double overtime win over Drake on Friday, the Jays are 10-1 in games decided by one goal in 2012. The win also marked CU's third overtime victory of the year. The Bluejays are undefeated at 3-0-2 in extra time this season.

Double the Titles

CU is looking to capture the MVC Tournament title in the same season it is the MVC regular-season champion for the eighth time.  The Jays have been double champs in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2006, 2008 and 2011.

Déjà Vu

Coming into the week, the last time the Jays played an MVC tournament match in Bradley's Shea Stadium two seasons ago they were also ranked No. 12 nationally and also slated to play the fifth seed in the tournament after receiving a bye into the semifinals as the top seed. The Jays fell to the fifth-seeded host Braves 3-2 in the 2010 tourney semis.

This year the Bluejays repeated the score but changed the outcome with a 3-2 victory over Drake in double overtime Friday evening in an MVC semifinal.

MVC Tournament History

 After Friday's 3-2 double overtime victory over Drake, the Bluejays are 32-8-1 all-time MVC tournament record, the most tournament victories in league history.  CU has won more tournament titles, 12, than all other MVC teams combined, earning its 12th crown in 2011.

The Jays have appeared in 15 of the 21 MVC tournament championship matches, including five of the last seven. The Jays have lost in the quarterfinals once, the semifinals five times, in the championship match three times and won the other 12 tournaments in which they've appeared.

The Jays are the only team in league history with more than three tournament titles.

Shea Hey

Creighton has played 12 matches in Bradley's Shea Stadium since it opened in 2003. The Jays are 10-3-0 all-time at Shea Stadium, including 6-2-0 against Bradley.

The Jays are 5-1-0 in MVC Tournament matches played at Shea while meeting the hosts in each of the three previous tourneys held in Peoria since 2003.

The Jays fell to BU 3-2 in the 2010 tourney semifinals. Prior to that loss, CU won the tournament titles in 2005 and 2006, topping BU in the title match both times.

NCAA Tournament

The Bluejays will be looking to lock up the MVC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament this weekend.  Should CU not win the event, the Bluejays will look to the selection committee to award them their 20th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 21 years.

The Bluejays appeared in 17 straight NCAA Tournaments between 1992 and 2008, before missing the 2009 NCAA event despite an RPI of35.  The Jays advanced to their fourth College Cup in program history last season.

Men's Soccer Claims Multiple MVC Honors

 The Creighton men's soccer team  claimed three specialty awards and placed six student-athletes on Missouri Valley All-Conference teams, the league announced Thursday evening at the Men's Soccer Championship banquet hosted by Bradley.

Senior co-captain Jose Gomez became the 11th player in program history to take home MVC Player of the Year Honors. The Bluejays have won the award on 12 occasions as Ethan Finlay earned the accolade for a second time last season.

Fellow senior co-captain Andrew Ribeiro claimed MVC Defensive Player of the Year recognition. It marks the ninth time that a CU player won claimed the award.

The MVC recognized CU's Timo Pitter as the Freshman of the Year. Creighton first-year players have claimed four of the last five freshman honors in the league. Pitter is the seventh Bluejay to earn the laurel.

Sophomore midfielder Eric Miller joined Gomez, Ribeiro and Pitter on the MVC First Team.  Sophomore Jose Ribas was the only CU member of the MVC Second Team. Freshman defender Brendan Hines-Ike joined Pitter on the MVC All-Freshman team this year.

Jays Claim 12th MVC Regular Season Title

After a 2-1 defeat at Evansville (11/3), the Jays clinched their third straight Valley title and a bye into the MVC Tournament semifinals this week. CU claimed its second outright crown in three seasons.

No Losses in Title Run

Creighton finished 2012 with a 5-0-1 mark in MVC play. The last time CU finished the conference season without a loss was in 2008 (4-0-1). The Jays have now finished atop the MVC without a loss on seven occasions (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2007, 2008 and 2012).

Back-to-Back-to-Back

Creighton captured its 12th MVC regular-season title this year marking its third straight crown and its sixth in the last seven years. The title also gives head coach Elmar Bolowich back-to-back-to-back regular-season titles (after winning the ACC at North Carolina in 2010).

Dominant Defense Ties MVC Goals Allowed Record

With one goal allowed in conference play this year Creighton's shutout defense tied the MVC team record for the fewest goals allowed in a Valley season set lasts season by CU.

The 2012 Jays remained ahead of three teams, including CU's 1995 squad, who shared the previous all-time low record of two goals allowed in a conference season prior to 2011.

CU logged 12 consecutive shutouts of MVC opponents from Oct. 12, 2011 through Nov. 3, 2012. The Bluejays' defensive shutout streak ended after a total of 1,293 minutes.

Clean Sheets

Creighton tied its single-season consecutive home shutout record (1999, 2003, and 2011) this season by recording five straight clean sheets at home - all in October.

Coming into the postseason, the Jays have blanked opponents for the last 457:07 in Morrison Stadium dating back to Sept. 22.

Jays Rank No. 14 in Latest NCAA RPI

Creighton ranks at No. 14 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released by the NCAA on Nov. 5. The Jays moved up three spots from No. 17 last week after winning their only match at No. 76 Evansville.

One and Done

CU has won its last 11 games that were decided by a 1-0 score, including a 6-0 record this season. In 2011 CU posted seven 1-0 wins the most in school history. The 2002 College Cup also posted six 1-0 victories. Head coach Elmar Bolowich is 14-2 at CU in matches that end 1-0 and is 27-4 over the past four years.

Pitter Patter

Freshman Timo Pitter continues to rapidly tap the ball past opposing goalkeepers this season. His opening score at Evansville (11/3) was his team-leading eighth of the season. His total ranks in a tie for second in the MVC. Pitter's seven scores are the most by any CU freshman since Byron Dacy tapped in nine goals in 2005.

Ribas Earns Second Scholar-Athlete Award

Sophomore Jose Ribas earned MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week honors Nov. 7.

The award is the third time he has earned the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week. He also claimed the award Sept. 19 and Oct. 24.

The Guayaquil, Ecuador, native posted his fifth assist of the year on the game-winning score in a 2-1 win at Evansville Nov. 16.

Ribas, who has a 3.60 cumulative grade point average in business, is tied for third overall in the Conference with five assists and currently stands third on the team with nine points.

Pitter Collects First Career MVC Honor

Freshman Timo Pitter claimed MVC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts in the Bluejays' 2-1 win over Evansville on Nov. 3; the league announced Nov. 5.

Pitter's conference accolade is the first of his career. The MVC has recognized CU players with weekly awards six times this season including once in each of the past four weeks.

The freshman from Oberschwarzach, Germany, scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to lead Creighton to a 2-1 victory at Evansville Saturday and help the Jays clinch an outright MVC regular season title and the top seed in the Valley tournament.

First to Take Two Teams to College Cup

Head coach Elmar Bolowich is among 10 coaches to appear in four straight College Cups, but he was the first to do so with two different teams.  2011 was his fifth appearance in the College Cup, joining 11 other head coaches that have reached five Cups.  He and Bob Guelker (SIUE and St. Louis) are the only coaches to take two different teams to the Cup.

Two Jays Earn Academic All-District Honors

Two men's soccer players earned 2012 Capital One Academic All-District VII First Team honors as voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) the organization announced Nov. 1.

Junior Bruno Castro and sophomore Eric Miller were each recognized for work both on the field and in the classroom. The honor is the first for each player.

As First Team All-District members Castro and Miller will be placed on a national ballot for a chance to be Academic All-America selections while competing against student-athletes from across the country.

 Ribeiro Collects Third MVC Honor of 2012

Senior Andrew Ribeiro MVC Defensive Player of the Week honors Oct. 29 for efforts in the Jays' 1-0 win vs. Missouri State Oct. 27.

Ribeiro's conference accolade is the third of his career and in 2012 following previous honors this season on Oct. 15 and Sept. 4.

The senior from Green Bay, Wis., attempted one shot and played every minute of the Jays' 1-0 victory over the Bears. The senior co-captain has played all but eight minutes this season for the Bluejays.

Gomez Claims MVC Accolade

Senior Jose Gomez claimed MVC Offensive Player of the Week honors Oct. 23.

Gomez's conference accolade is the second of his career and in 2012. The senior was also honored by the conference earlier this season on Sept. 4 after the Ameritas Classic.

One week after earning National Player of the Week honors, he continued his offensive prowess in front of Bluejay fans at Morrison Stadium. Gomez scored the game-winning goal off of a crossing pass in a 3-0defeat of UMKC Oct. 16. He later assisted on another.

He is also ranked nationally in the top 100 in three NCAA statistical categories updated on Nov. 5. Pitter stands No. 61 in the country with eight total goals. He is No. 82 nationwide at 0.44 goals per game and ranks No. 92 with 18 total points in 2012.

Eric Miller Makes Return after Playing for U.S. Under-20 National Team

Sophomore Eric Miller returned to the Jays after missing three matches playing for U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team in October.

U.S. National Team head coach Tab Ramos led the team in Spain's 2012 Marbella Cup.

Miller played 69 minutes off the bench in a 2-1 loss to Canada in Marbella on Oct. 10. The U.S. rebounded to beat Scotland 2-0 Oct. 12; Miller saw 63 minutes of match time.

Miller made his first start on Oct. 16, playing all 90 minutes in a 3-2 win over Azerbaijan.

Jays Celebrate 600th Match with a Win

Creighton posted a 1-0 win over Missouri State Oct. 27 in the program's 600th match. CU is now 391-153-57 in 30 seasons of men's soccer.

Gomez Climbing Morrison Record Book

After scoring a goal and notching an assist against UMKC Oct. 16, senior Jose Gomez tied Tim Bohnenkamp (2004-07) for No. 1 with 15 career assists inside Morrison Stadium.

Gomez's goal moved him into a tie for No. 5 all-time on the stadium list at nine scores.   Currently he ranks No. 2 in shots on goal with 37 and No. 3 in points with 33 at home.

October Surprise

CU extended its season-best win streak to seven matches last week and finished the month of October undefeated at 7-0. Creighton improved to 61-11-12 in the month of October since 2002. The Jays have now gone unbeaten in five Octobers since then (2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2012).

Opponents Seeking Goals

Creighton has kept seven of its last 10 opponents off of the scoreboard this season after shutout wins vs. Missouri State (10/27), Bradley (10/20), UMKC (10/16), at UCA (10/13), vs. SIUE (10/6) and Loyola-Chicago (10/2) along with a scoreless draw at Drake (9/29).

Princeton's first goal Oct. 9 halted a Jays' opponent scoreless streak at 320:49. After the second score of that match, CU shut out opponents for 414:42 until UE's goal last weekend.

Jays' goalkeepers Alex Bolowich and Jeff Gal have combined for 10 shutouts this season.

Gomez Tabbed National Player of the Week

Senior Jose Gomez claimed Men's College Soccer National Player of the Week honors from TopDrawerSoccer.com and earned a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week on Oct. 15.

The national honors for Gomez this week mark the first of his career. He is just the second CU player in the past four seasons to garner the National Player of the Week award. Departed senior Ethan Finlay claimed the honor last season on Dec. 5.

Gomez posted six points in CU's two road victories Oct. 9-13. On Oct. 13, he netted a score and an assist in a 3-0 victory at MVC foe Central Arkansas. Earlier in the week, Gomez assisted on all three Creighton goals, including the game-winning score in overtime, in a 3-2 victory at Princeton in front of a national television audience on ESPNU Tuesday, Oct. 9.

The Santa Ana, Calif., native is the first Jay to earn an assist on three CU goals in the same game since Seth Sinovic helped on three scores at Eastern Illinois on Nov. 8, 2008.

Offense Comes Alive

Creighton's 3-0 victory vs. UMKC Oct. 16 coupled with a 3-0 win at UCA Oct. 13 and the Jays' 3-2 OT win at Princeton Oct. 9 marked the first time the Jays' offense scored three or more goals in three consecutive matches since 2005.

Four Jays Represented on TopDrawerSoccer's Midseason 100 to Watch

At midseason (10/3) soccer website TopDrawerSoccer.com ranked senior Jose Gomez as the No. 3 college prospect in the country.  Three other Jays also made the Top 100 as sophomore Eric Miller rated No. 32, junior Zach Barnes stood No. 75 and senior Andrew Ribeiro ranked No. 98.

Alex Bolowich Named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week

Alex Bolowich of the Creighton men's soccer team was selected Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week for his performance during the period of Aug. 27-Sept. 2.

A sophomore from Chapel Hill, N.C., Bolowich was named to the Ameritas Classic Championship All-Tournament team, helping the Jays to a 1-1 draw with No. 7 Akron (8/31) and a 3-0 win over Rutgers (9/2).

Bolowich, who has a 3.43 cumulative grade point average in communications, allowed one goal in 200 combined minutes on the week.  He held Akron to just one goal on 15 shots, despite the Zips being one of the top scoring teams in the NCAA over the past three seasons.

 Flying in a Pack

The Jays set a single-match attendance record in their 2-1 loss to No. 14 Old Dominion (9/14) as 6,848 fans watched the match.  That mark eclipsed the previous attendance record of 5,812, set in a match against UCLA on Sept. 8, 2007. Creighton has welcomed 24,029 fans at home this year.

Top 10 CreightonHome Crowds

            1.         6,848 vs. Old Dominion, Sept. 14, 2012

            2.         5,812 vs. UCLA, Sept. 8, 2007

            3.         5,743 vs. Stanford (Exh.), Aug. 26, 2005

            4.         5,609 vs. Missouri State, Sept. 19, 2009

            5.         5,425 vs. Drexel, Sept. 4, 2011

            6.         4,407 vs. Saint Louis, Aug. 31, 1997

            7.         4,345 vs. Virginia (Exh.), Aug. 28, 1993

            8.         4,242 vs. Fordham, Sept. 9, 2011

            9.         4,071 vs. Gonzaga, Aug. 29, 2008

            10.       4,029 vs. UMKC (Exh.), Aug. 27, 2004

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