Elmar Bolowich Named Coach of the Year

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Bolowich picked up his 300th career victory this season.
Courtesy: Eric Francis
OMAHA, Neb. – Creighton men's soccer coach Elmar Bolowich has been named the Midwest Region Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), while MLSsoccer.com has tabbed the Bluejays' leader as the NCAA Coach of the Year.  In addition to Bolowich's honor, MLSsoccer.com also named Brian Holt its Goalkeeper of the Year, while naming Holt, Ethan Finlay, Greg Jordan and Tyler Polak among its Best XI.  Andrew Duran was named to the second-team by MLSsoccer.com.

In his first season at Creighton, Bolowich led the Bluejays to a No. 2 national ranking and the No. 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Bolowich guided the Missouri Valley Conference Coaching Staff of the Year, while leading the Bluejays to both the MVC regular-season and tournament titles.  Creighton was the No. 1-ranked team in the NSCAA Midwest Region every week of the season.  The Jays made their fourth appearance in the NCAA College Cup, ending their season in the national semifinals with a 21-2-1 record.

Creighton set an NCAA record by logging a 0.20 goals against average, surrendering only five goals in 24 matches.  The Bluejays set a league and school record with 19 shutouts, falling one shy of the NCAA record.  Creighton also led the NCAA with a 92.6 save percentage and 79.2 shutout percentage, while tying for the national-lead with 21 victories. 

Bolowich also earned regional coach of the year honors from the NSCAA in 2000 and 2001, while he was tabbed the
2001 NSCAA National Coach of the Year.  He is one of 12 coaches in NCAA history to reach five Division I College Cups and one of 10 coaches to make at least four consecutive trips to the College Cup.

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.  Creighton's first NSCAA first-team goalkeeper, Holt 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 posted 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 is one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy – 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.  One of three players in school history to twice earn All-America honors from the NSCAA, he scored six game-winning goals in 2011 to finish his career with 20 game-winners among his 43 career scores.  The senior forward's 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.

Jordan was named a second-team All-America by the NSCAA, after earning first-team all-region and first-team all-conference honors.  The senior midfielder 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.  A highly touted draft prospect, MLSsoccer.com recently ranked him 14th among on its SuperDraft "Big Board", while he was also ranked sixth earlier this season among senior prospects by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

Polak, a first-team all-MVC defender, was also honored on the NSCAA All-Region First-Team for his play at left outside back.  This sophomore back 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 played more minutes than any Bluejay field player in 2011.

Duran, a second-team NSCAA All-American and the MVC Defensive Player of the Year, 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.  The senior center back is heading to the MLS Combine next month and is likely to be drafted, along with a few other Bluejays, after posting a career-year during Creighton's outstanding 2011 season.
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