OMAHA, Neb. – The Creighton men’s soccer team earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 21st time in 22 seasons when pairings were announced on NCAA.com on Monday.
Creighton (9-8-2) will host Western Athletic Conference Champion Seattle (10-8-4) in a first-round match in the 48-team tournament on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. CT. The winner of Thursday's match will travel to No. 2 seed Washington on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT in Seattle.
Creighton, 7-1-1 at home this season, is 11-1-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches played at Morrison Stadium. The Jays were one of five BIG EAST squads to make the 2013 NCAA field joining No. 6 seed Georgetown, No. 9 seed Marquette, Providence and St. John’s. CU owns a 2-4-2 record against fellow NCAA Tourney teams this season.
The Jays came into Selection Monday at No. 17 nationally in the latest RPI released by the NCAA on Nov. 11. The Bluejays’ at-large selection is their first since 2010 after CU claimed Missouri Valley Conference Tournament titles resulting in automatic bids in each of its final two seasons in the league.
After competing in back-to-back NCAA College Cups, Creighton is now 28-17-6 overall in the NCAA Tournament all-time. The Bluejays have advanced to at least the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in six of their last 10 appearances. The Jays have made five total NCAA College Cup appearances (1996, 2000, 2002, 2011 and 2012).
Elmar Bolowich is the head coach of the Bluejays. He has guided his teams to five consecutive NCAA College Cup appearances (Creighton – 2012, 2011 and North Carolina - 2010, 2009, 2008) and won a national title with the Tar Heels in 2001. This will be Bolowich's 18th NCAA Tournament appearance as a head coach.
Creighton ended the 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. All eight of CU’s downfalls have been decided by a single goal this season.
The Jays, with a 4-6 record over their last 10 matches, played the sixth-toughest schedule in the nation as of a Nov. 17 NCAA report. Creighton compiled a 4-5-2 mark against Top 50 RPI teams this season and did not play a match against a single team with an RPI below 150.
CU ranks at No. 39 nationally with 31 goals this season. The Jays rank No. 40 in total assists with 29. As a result, the Jays stand at No. 41 in the country for total points heading into the tournament.
Seven Bluejays claimed a spot on All-BIG EAST Teams this fall following the regular season. CU senior Zach Barnes earned All-BIG EAST First Team Honors. Junior Jose Ribas along with sophomores Brendan Hines-Ike and Timo Pitter claimed All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades. CU senior Bruno Castro won All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention recognition. Creighton freshmen Fabian Herbers and Ricardo Perez secured spots on the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
SENIOR ZACH BARNES ON NCAA SELECTION
SOPHOMORE BRENDAN HINES-IKE ON NCAA SELECTION
Seattle (10-8-4) claimed an automatic NCAA tournament bid by winning the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament championship game over San Jose State 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Redhawks also claimed the regular-season WAC crown with a 7-0-3 record. Seattle is one of two squads making their NCAA tournament debut this season; Quinnipiac is the other. Creighton has never faced Seattle in men’s soccer competition. CU sophomore Brendan Hines-Ike’s brother Ian is a midfielder for the Redhawks.
Should Creighton win its first-round contest, it would set up a second-round match with the No. 2 seed Washington (14-1-4) Huskies for the second consecutive season. Last year CU defeated UW 4-2 in a second-round match at Morrison Stadium after the Huskies defeated Air Force in a first-round contest. Washington claimed its first Pac-12 title since 2000 on Sunday.
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 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title that year. CU is 6-2 all-time against Washington with a 2-1 record in Seattle. Creighton fell 3-0 at Washington in the schools' first NCAA meeting in 2006.
Men’s soccer season ticket holders can purchase their regular season seat locations for Thursday night’s first-round match by stopping by the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center Ticket Office tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 19) from 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Season ticket holders can also purchase their regular season seat locations for Thursday night’s first-round match by stopping by the Wayne & Eileen Ryan Athletic Center Ticket Office on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Seats not purchased by season ticket holders by 4:30 p.m., on Wednesday will be made available to the general public starting at 10:00 a.m., on Thursday.
Ticket prices for the first-round NCAA match are $20 (upper level adult reserved), $15 (upper level youth reserved), $10 (lower level adult reserved), $9 (lower level adult general admission), $7 (lower level youth reserved, ages 3-18) and $6 (lower level youth general admission, ages 3-18).
Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 19) at 10:00 a.m., fans that are not season ticket holders can purchase available tickets to the first-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 Lot S or Lot C parking passes to Morrison Stadium prior to the season should use the one dated Thursday, Nov. 21 and marked “NCAA First Round” for entry to those areas on Thursday night.