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Creighton faces former Valley rival Drake on Wednesday.
Courtesy: © Steven Branscombe

Menís Soccer Battles Former Conference Rival Drake

OMAHA, Neb. – The Creighton men’s soccer team returns home for its final two regular-season matches at home beginning with a contest against former Missouri Valley Conference rival Drake inside Morrison Stadium at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday.

Later in the week the Bluejays will close out their BIG EAST regular-season home schedule in a Senior Day match against DePaul at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday. The contest will be part of a doubleheader with the women’s team and honor the Jays’ six seniors.

Creighton (7-6-2, 3-3-1 BIG EAST) stands alone at fifth in the league standings after a two-match conference road split last week. CU won 3-2 at Butler last Wednesday before dropping a 3-2 match at Seton Hall on Saturday.  As a result of the split, the Jays dropped out of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) for the first time since the 2010 preseason poll - a span of 45 weeks.

With just two conference matches remaining the Jays have a chance to move up in the standings. Only the top six teams make the BIG EAST Men’s Soccer Championship that begins at campus sites on Nov. 12. The No. 3 seed will host the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed will host the No. 5 seed in the opening round. The top two seeds will receive byes to the semifinals.

Creighton controls its own destiny to make the conference tournament. If the Bluejays defeat DePaul at home this weekend and win at Providence on Nov. 8 the Jays are in with seeding to be determined. Three teams trail CU by just a point in the standings this week.

The Bluejays are 5-1-1 in home contests this season but the last match was a 1-0 overtime loss to Villanova on Oct. 19. The match against Drake is only the third home game for CU in October versus five road contests earlier in the month. CU blanked Xavier 2-0 on Oct. 5.

In the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released Monday, Creighton moved up one slot No. 16 overall despite a conference road split. The RPI is one of the primary tools utilized by the NCAA for tournament team selections and seeding. The Jays are one of eight BIG EAST teams ranked among the top 60 this week.

Drake (8-5-3, 3-1-1 Missouri Valley) is undefeated in its last four matches with a 3-0-1 mark entering this week. Last Saturday the Bulldogs edged Bradley at home 2-1. DU has allowed just a total of three goals over those four matches. The Bulldogs rank second in the MVC standings but has the highest RPI in the Valley at No. 50. The Bulldogs are 4-2-2 in true road games this season.

Creighton and Drake share three common opponents this season. CU defeated then-No. 14 Tulsa and Cal Poly at Morrison Stadium on opening weekend while Drake dropped home contests to both schools. Both programs lost at Marquette this season as well.

Jarred Arde leads the Bulldog attack this season with four goals and 11 points on the year. DU’s Danton Irelan is second on the squad with four goals and nine points. Darrin MacLeod has played in 13 matches for Drake this season compiling a record of 8-2-2 and a goals against average of 0.77.

Last Week

10/23: Won at Butler 3-2*

10/26: Lost at Seton Hall 3-2*

This Week

10/30: vs. Drake, 7 p.m. CT – Morrison Stadium

11/2: vs. DePaul, 4 p.m. CT – Morrison Stadium*

* BIG EAST conference match

What’s at Stake

·       CU is looking to remain undefeated in 2013 non-conference home matches (3-0-1).

·       Drake is seeking first victory at Morrison Stadium since a 1-0 win on Sept. 14, 2009.

Following the Jays

Fans can follow all of the action this Wednesday by clicking on the live stats and live video links at GoCreighton.com.

Scouting the Creighton Bluejays (7-6-2, 3-3-1 BIG EAST)

The Creighton men’s soccer team split a two-match conference road trip last week with a 3-2 victory at Butler on Wednesday before a 3-2 defeat at Seton Hall three days later. The Jays are coming off of a quintet of matches decided by one goal, part of 11 total one-goal decisions or ties involving Creighton this season.

CU stands alone in fifth place in the conference standings with 10 points and controls its own destiny in making the conference tourney with just two matches remaining in BIG EAST play. The Jays host last-place DePaul for Senior Day on Saturday before traveling to fourth-place Providence for the regular season finale on Nov. 8. With two wins the Bluejays are in with seeding to be determined.

Earlier this month the Bluejays finished a grueling stretch of seven consecutive CU opponents that participated in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. CU wrapped up that arduous couple of weeks with a 2-3-2 mark.

After a CU scoreless streak of over 367 minutes, the Bluejay offense found a spark in their pair of road matches last week. Creighton posted five goals in the split.

The Jays scored three goals after halftime to knock off Butler, the most since the second stanza of the Bluejays’ 4-2 victory over Washington in an NCAA Second Round match in Omaha last Nov. 18.

Three days later the Bluejays surrendered three first-half goals at Seton Hall the first such occurrence in at least 15 years of Creighton men’s soccer.

Pitter leads the CU offense this year with five goals and 10 points. Freshman Fabian Herbers is second on the squad with eight points and a pair of goals. Junior Eric Miller is third with three goals and seven points. Eight Bluejays have already scored multiple goals this season.

In net, junior Alex Bolowich continues to keep the Jays in tight matches with a 1.21 goals against average this year and 49 saves. Bolowich has started 12 matches, including five overtime contests, for the Jays resulting in a 6-5-1 record. Sophomore Connor Sparrow has started three matches for Creighton compiling a 1-1-1 record and making eight saves on the season.

Scouting the Drake Bulldogs (8-5-3, 3-1-1 Missouri Valley)

Drake enters the contest this week unbeaten in its last four contests. The Bulldogs defeated Bradley 2-1 at home in an MVC showdown on Saturday after tying conference newcomer Loyola on the road 1-1. DU edged SIUE 1-0 at home and won 2-1 at Green Bay the week prior.

DU is second in the MVC standings but holds the highest RPI ranking in the conference at No. 50. Drake has a better record in true road contests than at home this season with a 4-2-2 mark.

Drake was picked in a tie for second with Evansville in the seven-team 2013 Missouri Valley preseason poll behind favorite SIUE. The Bulldogs welcome back eight starters from a 2012 squad that finished 6-11-4 and 2-2-2 in the MVC.

Creighton and Drake share three common opponents this season. CU defeated then-No. 14 Tulsa and Cal Poly at Morrison Stadium on opening weekend while Drake dropped home contests to both schools. Both programs lost at Marquette this season as well.

Jarred Arde leads the Bulldog attack this season with four goals and 11 points on the year. DU’s Danton Irelan is second on the squad with four goals and nine points.

Darrin MacLeod has played in 13 matches for Drake this season compiling a record of 8-2-2 and a goals against average of 0.77. MacLeod’s save percentage of 0.862 ranks No. 8 nationally.

Tough Slate

Creighton is the No. 16 team in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released Monday, as the Jays continue through the gauntlet of an extremely tough schedule this season. 

Twelve of Creighton’s 15 opponents to open this year are among the top 60 in the latest RPI that ranks all 203 NCAA Division I squads. In other words the Bluejays’ schedule has consisted of one-fifth of the top 60 teams in the nation. Seven of those 15 foes also received votes in the latest NSCAA Top 25 released Tuesday afternoon. 

Nine of the 10 programs in the BIG EAST conference rank among the top 72 in the RPI this week.

Earlier this month Creighton ended a stretch that began in late September in which the Jays faced seven squads in a row that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season in a span of just under a month. CU completed that arduous span with a mark of 2-3-2.

Creighton is 2-1-1 against teams ranked in the top 25 at the time of the match including wins over then-No. 14 Tulsa and then-No. 7 St. John’s to go with a tie at then-No. 12 Georgetown. CU fell at No. 22 Saint Louis 1-0 on Oct. 2.

Goal Trios

After a CU scoreless streak of over 367 minutes, the Bluejay offense found a spark in their pair of road matches last week. Creighton posted five goals in the split.

The Jays scored three goals after halftime to knock off Butler, the most since the second stanza of the Bluejays’ 4-2 victory over Washington in an NCAA Second Round match in Omaha last Nov. 18.

Three days later the Bluejays surrendered three first-half goals at Seton Hall the first such occurrence in at least 15 years of Creighton men’s soccer.

CU Defense vs. the BIG EAST

Prior to last week, Creighton had allowed just four goals through its first five BIG EAST matches this season.

On Wednesday, Butler was the first BIG EAST squad to score multiple goals on the Bluejays this season. Then Saturday, Seton Hall became the first BIG EAST squad to post three goals against CU

That slew of five goals followed just one score against CU in each of its prior two league contests - a 1-0 overtime loss to Villanova last Saturday and a 1-0 setback at Marquette on Oct. 12.

CU also blanked its first three league foes including Xavier 2-0 on Oct. 5. Earlier CU tied then-No. 12 Georgetown in a scoreless draw on Sept. 28. The Jays knocked off then-No. 7 St. John’s 1-0 in double overtime a week prior on Sept. 21.

The Jays have allowed only 11 total goals to conference foes in the past three seasons, with 10 of the 11 occurring on the road.

#FortressMorrison

Creighton’s 1-0 overtime loss to Villanova Oct. 19 snapped a 12-match CU unbeaten streak at Morrison Stadium dating back to last fall when the Bluejays fell 3-1 to Saint Louis on Sept. 22. As a result, Creighton is now 11-1-1 in its last 13 home matches.

The downfall to VU marked the first home loss in a conference match inside Morrison Stadium in almost three years - since a 2-1 loss to Bradley on Nov. 6, 2010.

CU is 10-1-0 against conference foes at home during that span – including 10 consecutive shutout victories before the loss to the Wildcats.

The Bluejays’ 1-0 double-overtime victory over No. 7 St. John’s on Sept. 21 lifted Creighton’s record to 22-3-2 all-time against Top 25 opponents visiting Morrison Stadium.

Going the Distance

After playing a 0-0 tie at No. 12 Georgetown on Sept. 28, the Bluejays set a new program record by playing in in five consecutive double overtime contests.

 

Jays Claim Program Win No. 400

Creighton secured the program’s 400th all-time victory on Sept. 21 after a 1-0 double-overtime decision against No. 7 St. John’s. The Jays currently boast an all-time record of 402-160-60 since their first season in 1979.

Thrilling BIG EAST Debut

The Bluejays claimed a 1-0 double overtime victory in their BIG EAST conference debut against No. 7 St. John’s on Sept. 21 inside Morrison Stadium. Creighton stands at 2-0 all-time in conference debuts; the Jays edged Bradley 2-1 in their Missouri Valley Conference opener on Oct. 18, 1991.

Winning Over Crowds

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 total edged out a contingent of 5,102 Bluejay faithful that witnessed CU defeat Columbia 3-1 earlier this season on Sept. 6. With the win, 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. 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.

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

Cutting It Close

Creighton’s 3-2 loss at Seton Hall on Saturday marked the Jays’ ninth one-goal decision to go along with two ties this season. CU is 15-8 in games decided by one goal since the beginning of 2012.

Creighton is 2-2-2 in overtime matches this season following a 1-0 downfall to Villanova on Oct. 19, a scoreless tie at then-No. 12 Georgetown, a 2-2 tie versus Michigan State and 1-0 victory over then-No. 7 St. John’s last month.

CU suffered a 3-2 setback to William & Mary and clinched a 2-1 win at Old Dominion earlier this season at the Stihl Classic, both in overtime. The Jays went undefeated at 3-0-3 in extra time last season.

One Goal to Nil

Following CU’s 1-0 setback against Villanova on Saturday, Creighton has won 13 of its previous 18 matches ending in a 1-0 score, including a 7-1 ledger in 2012 contests.

Recent Overtime Perfection Halted

Prior to the 3-2 setback to William & Mary on Sept. 15, the Jays had not suffered an overtime loss in 16 matches dating back to a 3-2 setback in extra time to SMU on Sept. 17, 2010, at the Hotels at Grand Prairie Classic.

Before the overtime loss to William & Mary, Creighton boasted a 10-0-6 overtime record since that 2010 match, including the victory over Old Dominion on Sept. 13. The Jays had kept opponents scoreless in overtime for over 234 straight minutes before the Tribe scored its game winner.

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

Following a 3-1 victory over Columbia on Sept. 6, Creighton became the top squad in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll released Sept. 10.

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

Before this week, the 2010 preseason poll was the last time the Jays went unranked.

Jays’ History When Perched at No. 1

After a 1-1 split against host Old Dominion and William & Mary at the Stihl Classic Sept. 13-15, Creighton now boasts a 9-2-1 record all-time as the top-ranked team in the NSCAA poll. After a double-overtime setback to the Tribe, the Bluejays dropped four spots to No. 5 in the rankings.

The Bluejays went 1-0-1 after achieving the top ranking in the Sept. 15, 1999 poll. CU defeated Harvard 6-0 before tying Boston University 1-1 a day later. The tie dropped the Jays to No. 3 the following week.

Creighton’s longest run at No. 1 occurred in 1993 when the Bluejays spent the final five weeks of the regular season in the top spot. CU finished the regular season undefeated at 19-0 including seven consecutive victories while ranked No. 1. The Jays suffered a heart-breaking four-overtime 2-1 loss to Air Force in the first round of the NCAA Tournament that season to halt the streak.

Two Jays Earn Recognition from BIG EAST

Sophomore Brendan Hines-Ike claimed Defensive Player of the Week honors from the BIG EAST, the league office announced Sept. 30. Senior Bruno Castro also claimed a spot on the BIG EAST weekly honor roll.

It marks the first Defensive Player of the Week honor for Hines-Ike and third defensive accolade awarded to a Bluejay by the conference this season. Junior Eric Miller claimed recognition in two of the first four weeks for Creighton.

Hines-Ike won BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors after helping to anchor the Creighton backline against Michigan State and at No. 12 Georgetown. He played all 220 minutes in the Jays’ pair of double-overtime contests against the Spartans and Hoyas. Hines-Ike and the defense led Creighton to its second blanking of a BIG EAST foe to begin the conference slate. The Denver native has played every minute of the season on defense, helping the Jays record four shutouts through eight matches.

The honor roll achievement collected by Castro marks his first accolade from the BIG EAST. A Bluejay has claimed a spot on the conference weekly honor roll in four of the first five weeks this season.

Castro earned BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll recognition after scoring his second goal of the season as part of a three-point night in a 2-2 tie against Michigan State last week. The Costa Rica native connected on a header from 15 yards out against MSU to record the final score of the match. Castro also made an assist on the Jays’ first goal against the Spartans.

Three Jays Claim BIG EAST Weekly Honors

CU junior Eric Miller and freshman Fabian Herbers claimed Defensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors from the BIG EAST, respectively, the league announced Sept. 23. Junior Alex Bolowich also claimed a spot on the BIG EAST weekly honor roll.

It marks the second Defensive Player of the Week honor for Miller this season and Herbers’ first accolade from the conference. The honor roll recognition gained by Bolowich follows a Goalkeeper of the Week honor awarded earlier this season.

Herbers scored the lone goal of the match off of a free kick at 108:05 in a double overtime against No. 7 St. John’s to secure Creighton’s first BIG EAST victory and program win No. 400. It marked his second goal of the season, both game-winners. Herbers is currently tied for second on the team with two goals and six points on the season.

Herbers also earned a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week for his game-winning goal on a free kick against the Red Storm.

Miller won BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors after anchoring the Creighton backline against No. 7 St. John’s, helping the Bluejays record the team’s first BIG EAST victory and program win No. 400. He played all 108 minutes in the double overtime victory over St. John’s. Miller has played every minute of the season on defense, helping the Jays record four shutouts through nine matches.

Bolowich earned BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll recognition after recording his third shutout of the season and second shutout of a ranked opponent. Bolowich made three saves in the victory over No. 7 St. John’s.

Pitter Claims Spot on BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for Second Straight Week

Sophomore Timo Pitter led the Creighton offense after posting his third goal of the year on the Jays’ game-winning score over the Lions Sept. 6. For a second straight week, Pitter claimed a spot on the BIG EAST weekly honor roll. He currently leads the Jays with three goals and seven points.

Miller, Bolowich Earn BIG EAST Weekly Honors after Opening Weekend

Creighton juniors Eric Miller and Alex Bolowich claimed Defensive Player of the Week and Goalkeeper of the Week honors from the BIG EAST, respectively, the league announced on Sept. 2.

The weekly conference honor bestowed solely on athletic performance is a career first for both Miller and Bolowich. The classmates each claimed a scholar-athlete weekly award a season ago. The weekly awards are the first given to Creighton men’s soccer student-athletes by the BIG EAST.

Miller won BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors after anchoring the Creighton backline on the opening weekend, helping the Bluejays record a pair of shutout wins over No. 14 Tulsa (2-0) and Cal Poly (3-0). He also scored a rare goal, just the second of his career in Omaha, against Cal Poly on a redirected header from freshman Fabian Herbers.

Bolowich shined for Creighton in the pair of shutouts to open the 2013 season to claim BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week accolades. Bolowich blanked No. 14 Tulsa in the Jays’ opener with seven saves. He played only the first half against Cal Poly, making two stops.

Herbers Earns Team of Week Nod in First Outing

CU freshman Fabian Herbers claimed a spot on TopDrawerSoccer’s Team of the Week, released Sept. 3, after posting four points for the Jays on the opening weekend. He helped Creighton record a pair of wins with a goal and two assists. Herbers’ first career goal as a Bluejay was the game winner against No. 14 Tulsa. He also made two assists against Cal Poly.

California Dreaming

After blanking Cal Poly 3-0 on Sept. 1, Creighton improved its record to 16-0-3 against California-based schools in its last 19 meetings. The Jays won both matches against teams from the Golden State in 2012 defeating both Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s by 1-0 margins. Creighton’s last loss to a team from California came on Sept. 7, 2003, a 2-1 double overtime loss at Loyola Marymount.

Starting the Season Off Right

• After a 2-0 shutout of Tulsa, Creighton is unbeaten in its last seven season-opening matches, going 5-0-2 in those contests.

• Creighton has allowed one total goal to its last five season-opening opponents. Northern Illinois scored the lone goal last year after three years of shutouts.

BIG EAST Preseason Honors

The BIG EAST men’s soccer coaches selected No. 2 Creighton to place second in the 2013 preseason poll the behind fellow 2012 College Cup participant, No. 11 Georgetown.

CU junior Eric Miller and sophomore Timo Pitter were also named to the preseason All‐BIG EAST Team.

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