OMAHA, Neb. -Brian Holt notched his school-record 27th career shutout as the 10th-ranked Creighton men's soccer team captured at least a share of its 10th Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship with a 2-0 win over Missouri State Wednesday night at Morrison Stadium. The Bluejays owned a 1-0 lead at halftime thanks to a Missouri State own goal in the 15th minute and Sergio Castillo scored his first goal of the season in the 76th minute to provide the winning margin.
Creighton is now 12-3-1 on the season and 5-0-1 in conference play, while the win snapped Missouri State's 12-match unbeaten streak in regular-season conference play, dropping the Bears to 7-6-2 on the year and 4-1-1 in The Valley.
"The goal is to win your league and the league in every other country but America, is what dictates the best teams," said head coach Jamie Clark after leading his team to the MVC title in his first season at Creighton. "Anyone can win a tournament, but over the course of a season, you hang your hat on if you can go through a league and win your games and I'm proud of our guys for that. The goal now is to get through Saturday with an undefeated league record."
The Bluejays came out attacking the best defensive team in the MVC, carrying possession for much of the first half, including a dominating first 20 minutes. Dion Acoff's speed once again gave his defenders problems, as he worked around the Bears for a fantastic crossing pass in the 12th minute which went through the box untouched by the Bears, only to have the Jays unable to get a foot on it. Acoff again kept on the attack, creating Creighton's first goal. It was his pass to the middle of the box which forced the Missouri State defense into a mistake, as a pair of Bear defender misplayed the ball into the back of CU's net.
Creighton owned a 7-2 advantage on shots in the first half, including a blast by Kris Clark which was turned away by Bear goalkeeper Alex Riggs. The Jays were up 3-0 on corner kicks at the half.
Creighton again dominated possession in the second half, out-shooting the Bears 9-3 after halftime. The Bluejays put four shots on goal after the half, with Riggs stopping three. It was the shot he didn't stop that gave Creighton some breathing room in the 76th minute. Ethan Finlay lofted a crossing pass to the middle and put it right on the head of Castillo, who banged in just his second career goal.
Holt needed to make one save in the match to record his school-record 27th shutout, moving past his predeccesor Matt Allen's former mark of 26. Holt need just one more solo shutout to claim the MVC career record.
Acoff not only created the first goal for Creighton, but played a fantastic match, attempting five shots, including one on goal, one that hit the post and another that just slid past the post in the second half. Castillo came off the bench for the first time this season, but played 53 minutes and attempted three shots, two on goal.
The Bluejays can clinch the regular-season title outright with a win or a tie against Bradley (8-8-2, 2-3-1 MVC) in their regular-season finale on Saturday. The Jays and Braves will play a rare afternoon game at Morrison Stadium on Saturday, with a noon kickoff.
NOTES: Creighton had scored just one goal in its previous 400 minutes (four matches) against Missouri State ... The Bears were 10-0-2 in their previous 12 MVC regular-season matches ... Finlay's assist increased his Morrison Stadium record point total to 36 in his career ... Jamie Clark has guided his teams to consecutive regular-season conference crowns, leading Harvard to the Ivy League title last year.
Creighton Men's Soccer defeated St. John's 2-1 on 10/10/15 at Morrison Stadium