Men's Soccer Leads Nation With Four NSCAA All-Americans

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Ethan Finlay
Courtesy: Fr. Don Doll
HOOVER, Ala. - In conjunction with the College Cup semifinals on Friday, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) also announced its all-region and All-America teams, with the Creighton men's soccer team earning a school-record four All-America nods.  Senior goalkeeper Brian Holt and senior forward Ethan Finlay were named first-team All-America, while senior center back Andrew Duran and senior midfielder Greg Jordan were honored on the second team. 

All four players were also named to the NSCAA All-Midwest Region First-Team on Friday, along with sophomore defender Tyler Polak.  Sophomore midfielder Bruno Castro earned second-team all-region honors.

No other program in the county had four players earn All-America honors this season, as North Carolina followed the Bluejays with three All-America accolades.

Never in school history had the Bluejays had more than two players honored on NSCAA All-America teams in one season and only the 1993 team also produced two first-teamers.  Holt is the first goalkeeper in school history to earn first-team All-America honors from the NSCAA.  Finlay is just the third player in Bluejay soccer history to earn two All-America honors from the NSCAA, after earning second-team accolades in 2010.  He joins two-time first-teamer Johnny Torres (1996, 1997) and three-time honoree Brian Kamler (1991 - 2nd, 1992 - 3rd, 1993 - 1st) as a multiple All-American.

Holt set an NCAA record with a 0.206 goals against average this season, posting 17 shutouts, while starting all 19 of Creighton's clean sheets.  The Creighton Prep product was named the MVC Goalkeeper of the Year and the MVC Tournament MVP, as he went 21-2-1 with an NCAA-leading 92.3 save percentage and just five goals allowed in 2,180 minutes played.  The CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year and the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner finishes one of the most decorated seasons in Creighton history, and ends his career with an NCAA record 44 career shutouts and MVC and school records for wins (57) and goals against average (0.62).

Finlay was also named one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy on Friday – college soccer's top individual honor.  The two-time MVC Player of the Year, Finlay led the conference in goals (14) and points (34) for the second straight season, while he topped the MVC in game-winning goals for the fourth straight year.  The three-time first-team all-region honoree scored six game-winning goals in 2011 to finish his career with 20 game-winners among his 43 career scores.  His 43 goals rank fifth in school history and seventh in league history, while his 103 points are sixth in CU history and 10th in The Valley record books.  Both Holt and Finlay each started all 79 matches they played in during their careers.  Finlay is one of only six Jays to earn first-team all-region honors three times in a career.

Duran delivered on his potential with the help of a fully healthy year in 2011.  His first four seasons were all shortened by injury, but the left center back started all 24 matches for Creighton's record-setting defense this year.  He helped the Bluejays post 19 shutouts, one shy of the NCAA record, while Creighton's defense set an NCAA record with a 0.20 goals against average.  Duran was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Year for his outstanding work on CU's back line.

Jordan, like Duran, not only earned his first all-region honor in 2011, but also picked up his first All-America accolade after a stellar season in the midfield.  Jordan proved his versatility throughout the season, serving as a shutdown defender in the middle, but also showing his offensive ability by finishing with three goals and three assists for the No. 2-seeded Bluejays.

Polak, a first-team all-MVC defender, was also honored on the NSCAA All-Region First-Team for his play at left outside back.  He joined forces with Duran to simply shut down the opposition's attack.  Not only did the Bluejay defense set school, league and NCAA records and lead the NCAA in shutout percentage and goals against average, but they did so with flair.  The Jays allowed only five goals all year and teams managed only 2.8 shots on goal per game against the Jays.  Polak also made great runs forward this year, contributing five assists to the Bluejay attack.

Castro earned second-team all-region notice after also earning second-team all-MVC laurels.  The sophomore midfielder tied for the team-lead with eight assists to rank among NCAA leaders in his first season with the Bluejays.  The Costa Rican also finished second on the squad with six goals and 20 points.

Creighton, the MVC regular-season and tournament champion, finished its season with a 21-2-1 mark, following a shootout loss to 14th-ranked Charlotte Friday night in the College Cup Semifinals.
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