OMAHA, Neb. – The Creighton men’s soccer team received 14 votes from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) in the organization’s Preseason Top 25 Poll released Wednesday afternoon.
The Bluejays are the sixth team listed in schools also receiving votes, placing them at No. 31 overall in the national rankings. Creighton finished last season unranked with 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. CU finished with a 7-2-1 record at home inside Morrison Stadium.
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 15 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's team.
Five 2013 All-BIG EAST selections return for the Jays including last year’s leading scorer in junior Timo Pitter alongside senior Jose Ribas, junior Brendan Hines-Ike and sophomores Fabian Herbers and Ricardo Perez. The Bluejays welcome 11 newcomers to the squad but lose the services of 2014 MLS Draft selections Eric Miller and Zach Barnes.
Last season the NSCAA ranked Creighton at No. 6 in its preseason poll after the Jays competed in their second consecutive College Cup. 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.
The Bluejays are 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 also received 10 votes in the rankings. Defending champion Notre Dame led the poll in the top spot.
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).
The Jays will host No. 21 Wisconsin in an exhibition match on Aug. 22 prior to the regular season. CU also travels to Wisconsin-Milwaukee for an exhibition match on Aug. 17; the Panthers received two votes in the poll.
Creighton opens its 2014 campaign Aug. 15 with the Blue-White Scrimmage slated for 6 p.m. CT at Morrison Stadium.