Women's Soccer Continues MVC Play at Evansville

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Katie Jo Swanson
Courtesy: Eric Francis

Match 11 • Saturday, Oct. 1 • 7:00 p.m.
Creighton (5-4-1, 1-0-0) at Evansville (1-7-4)
Stadium • Evansville, Ind.
Series: UE leads 14-12-1
Missouri Valley Conference

 Scouting the Jays
    The Jays finished the 2010 season with a 15-4-2 overall record, finishing 5-1-0 in the MVC.  They won both the regular season crown and tournament title for the first time since 2002, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. 
    The Jays return their top four scorers from a season ago, with the quartet combining for 34 of the 50 total goals last season.  That group is led by 2010 MVC Player of the Year Brittney Neumann, MVC Tournament MVP Lauren Cingoranelli and all-MVC picks Andrea Zuniga and Erin Gunther.
    Also back for the Jays are both Alicia Montgomery and Katie Jo Swanson, who combined for a 0.83 goals against average a season ago, posting 10 shutouts in net for the Jays.
    Creighton started the 2011 with shutouts in three of the first four matches, putting together a 0.24 goals against average in that time frame.  The Jays then faced three straight setbacks, dropping a 2-0 loss at UC Davis, a 2-1 overtime match at Sacramento State and a 2-1 loss at home against Northern Colorado before downing Boise State 2-0, Northern Iowa 1-0 and tying Wyoming 0-0 in the last three matches.  Creighton’s goals against average now sits at 0.76, a number that is still leading the MVC.    Brittney Neumann leads the Jays with four goals this season, while Macy Mauer, Erin Gunther, Andrea Zuniga, Shonna Fraser and Kelly Connolly each have a goal for the 5-4-1 Jays this season.  Lauren Cingoranelli has three of the team’s five assists this season, while Katie Jo Swanson holds a 0.71 goals against average and two shutouts.  She didn’t allow her first goal until the Sacramento State match on September 11.  Alicia Montgomery is holding a 0.79 goals against average, posting four shutouts of her own.  The defense, led by seniors Kelly Connolly and Macy Mauer and freshman Madelyn Buckner, has allowed just seven goals in 10 matches this season. 

Following the Jays
    Creighton’s MVC match at Evansville on Saturday night will be available through live stats, as well as live audio and video at www.gocreighton.com.  Throughout the season, live stats as well as live video will be available at www.gocreighton.com.  You can also follow the Jays on Twitter (gocreighton) and on Facebook (search Creighton Athletics).

Teaming Up
    The Jays have posted six shutouts this season, a number which leads the Missouri Valley Conference and sits in a tie for 17th nationally.  The Creighton men’s soccer team has posted a nation leading eight this season, giving the two teams 14 combined, which leads the nation.  Below are the teams that are also teaming up to shutout opponents:
Team    Women’s    Men’s    Total
Creighton     6    8    14
Maryland    8    5    13
Penn St.    7    6    13
Buffalo        8    3    11
LaSalle        9    2    11
Providence    6    5    11
St. John’s (NY)    5    6    11
Meet the Opponent
Evansville
    Evansville sits at 1-7-4 on the season and is coming off a loss to IPFW last Saturday. Three of UE’s last five matches have ended with no winner nor loser. Kaitlin Robinett (3g, 2a, 8pts), Stephanie Thompson (3g, 1a, 7pts), and Tasha Prentice (2g, 2a, 6pts) lead the Aces’ offensive attack, as nine players have tallied points. Sophomore Breana Beine leads the squad with 20 shots taken, followed closely by Thompson’s 19.
    Goalkeeper Chaviel Harrison ranks No. 1 in the nation for minutes played. Harrison has played the Aces’ entire 1070:00 minutes, including four double overtime contests. Harrison also ranks No. 2 in the NCAA for total saves (78), just one behind the national leader (Bianca Garza, Prairie View, 79)

Vs. Evansville
     Creighton and Evansville are familiar foes on the soccer field, meeting up 27 times, including four times in the last two seasons.  The Purple Aces hold a 14-12-1 overall lead over the Jays, but Creighton has won the last four matches, including a 5-0 win in the semifinals of last year’s MVC Tournament in Omaha.

Bluejay Quick Facts
•  With the MVC opening win last week, the Jays are 10-3-2 all-time in conference openers, including winning the last five straight.  The last time the Jays lost a conference opener was in 2005, a 2-1 loss at Illinois State.

• Creighton is 8-1-1 when opening up MVC play at home, including an undefeated 4-0-2 tally since moving into Morrison Stadium.

• The 1-0 win over Northern Iowa last week marked the fifth win of the season, all five which have been shutouts.  Add to it the 0-0 scoreless draw at Wyoming, and the Jays have six shutouts on the season. The current group of Bluejay seniors have recorded at least seven shutouts in each season they have been on campus, including the record setting 11 shutouts in 2009.

Brittney Neumann was tabbed this week’s MVC Offensive Player of the Week, following her three-goal weekend.  The junior scored Creighton’s lone goal on Friday night and then turned around to net two goals in Sunday’s win.  It is the fourth time the Omaha native has won the award.

• The Jays still hold the best goals against average in the MVC, posting a combined 0.76 gaa.  The duo of Alicia Montgomery and Katie Jo Swanson have given up seven goals in the 10 matches.

• Creighton’s back four have also held opponents to just 54 shots on goal on the season, even with opponents averaging 10.8 total shots per match.

•  Creighton fell to Sacramento State 2-1 in overtime on Sunday, Sept. 11, the second overtime match in the first six matches of the season.  That trend has been consistent, as Creighton has played at least two overtime matches in the first six matches of the season in three of the last four seasons.

Last Week
    Creighton won its opening MVC match against Northern Iowa last Friday, posting a 1-0 hardfought win over the Panthers.  The Jays then traveled to Wyoming on Sunday, playing to a 0-0 scoreless draw with the Cowgirls.

Defensive POW
    For the second straight week a Bluejay picked up an MVC Player of the Week award, as this time sophomore Shonna Fraser picked up defensive accolades.  Fraser scored the lone goal in the 1-0 win over Northern Iowa last Friday, scoring on a shot from the top of the penalty box.  Fraser has also been a key cog in the defensive backline that has posted six shutouts this season, including two last week.

Fans in the Stands
    A record number of fans showed up on Friday night to see the Jays open the MVC with Northern Iowa, as 1,289 fans witnessed the Jays’ first win of the conference season.  That number is the second highest amount to see a women’s soccer match at Morrison Stadium.

Brick Wall
    Alicia Montgomery had a busy day in the goal against Wyoming on Sept. 25, making 13 saves in the 0-0 shutout against the Cowgirls.   That is the second most in school history and the most in one match since 2000.  Katie Jo Swanson posted 10 saves in the match against the Cowgirls last season, a match in which the Jays won 6-2.

She’s Baaaack
    After suffering a season-ending knee injury last season, and rehabbing it over the summer, Brittney Neumann showed everyone she is back in her true form last weekend, netting all three goals over the weekend.  Neumann was named the Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week for her performance.

Out of the Net
    The Jays have posted six shutouts in the first  10 matches this season, leading the MVC.  Alicia Montgomery has posted four of the six, moving her career total to 19, placing her in third on the Creighton women’s soccer all-time top-five charts.  The senior from Walnut Creek, Calif., posted a career high eight in 2009, the season the Jays set a school record with 11 total shutouts.

Sharing is Caring
    As a team, Creighton has dished out just six assists on the season, but three have come from sophomore Lauren Cingoranelli.  The Aurora, Colo., native dished out six assists total last season, but is already halfway there this season.  Cingoranelli assisted a goal at UMKC, before assisting Brittney Neumann in her single goal against Northern Colorado and her first goal against Boise State.

Three-Peat
    Creighton’s three losses in a row earlier this season marked the first time since 2000 the Jays have fallen in three straight.  In that season, Wright State, Wyoming and Nebraska each shutout the Jays for a 6-0 advantage in goals.  From 2001 until 2008, however, the Jays lost two in a row at least once each season, including three two-game skids in 2004. 

Next Up:
    Creighton will play its final two non-conference matches of the season next week, as they host Wright State on Wednesday and Kansas on Sunday, Oct. 9.  The Jays trail in both series, as Wright State holds a 2-1-0 advantage and Kansas holds the 4-2-0 lead.

Playing for Free
    Creighton has continued its streak of playing overtime matches, as they have now played at least two overtime matches in the first six matches of the season in three of the last four seasons (2011, 2010, 2008).  The Jays hold a 14-9-23 overall record when the match goes more than 90 minutes.  In single overtime, Creighton is 7-5-1, while they hold a 7-4-22 mark in double overtime matches.  So far on this season, the Jays are 1-1-1 in overtime matches, defeating South Dakota 1-0 in double overtime, falling 2-1 at Sacramento State in a single overtime match and then playing to a scoreless draw with Wyoming.

Just a Slip
    Creighton has gotten off to a 5-4-1 season, dropping from the top spot in the Valley after the sixth match for the first time since that time last season.  After six matches last season, the Jays were 2-2-2.  Creighton then went on a 10 match winning streak, snapped by Missouri State in the second to last MVC regular season match. 

Slowly but Surely
    After back-to-back seasons of record setting numbers on offense, including a squad that scored 50 goals last season, finishing ninth in the NCAA with 2.38 goals per match, the Jays offense has been slow to start this time around.  Creighton returned its top four scorers from a season ago, but has scored just five goals combined in the first six matches.  Below is a list of where the Jays sit in the Valley in offensive statistical categories:
    Shots    102    6th
    Points    24    7th
    Goals    9    T-5th
    Assists    6    7th

    Neumann - Shots    27    5th
    Neumann - Points    9    4th
    Neumann - Goals    4    T-2nd
    Neumann - Game Winning Goals    2    T-2nd
    Cingoranelli - Assists    3    T-5th
    Zuniga - Shots    22    7th
   
Stifling Defense
    While the offense has been slow to start, Creighton’s defense is right on track to continue down the path they have been the last two years.  The defense has a combined 27 shutouts over the last 52 matches, including 11 in 2009 and six in the first 10 matches this season.  Katie Jo Swanson picked up two shutouts in her first two appearances in goal this season, while Alicia Montgomery holds a 0.79 goals against average and a .826 save percentage.  Below is where the defense ranks in the Valley:
    Goals Allowed    7    1st
    Goals Against Average    0.76    1st
    Saves    35    7th
    Shutouts    6    1st

    Swanson - GAA    0.71    1st
    Swanson - Save %    0.786    4th
    Swanson - Shutouts    2    T-3rd
    Montgomery - GAA    0.79    2nd
    Montgomery - Save %    0.902    1st
    Montgomery - Shutouts    4    1st

Connolly’s Card
    Creighton senior Kelly Connolly picked up the game-winning goal in the 1-0 win over South Dakota last week, scoring in the 109th minute of play.  It marked the sixth goal of the defender’s career, with four of the five being game winners.  Connolly is fourth on the team with seven shots this season, second with six shots on goal and tied for the lead with a single goal.

Fresh Faces
    Head coach Bruce Erickson knew he came into the 2011 season with a veteran squad, nine seniors, but also knew there were key spots to replace.  One of the new faces to step into an immediate role has been Madelyn Buckner, a true freshman from Overland Park, Kan.  The defender, who sees time primarily in the middle of the back four, has played every minute of every match this season for the Jays, contributing to the three shutouts and overall success of the defense this season.

Keep it on Their Half
    Just one game after losing a corner kick battle 8-0 (against OSU), the Jays controlled the tempo and offensive pressure against South Dakota (Sept. 4).  Creighton took a season high 11 corner kicks, all 11 of which came before the Coyotes took a single one.    The Jays have now taken 30 corner kicks on the season, giving up 44 to opponents.

Fast Starters
    The Creighton offense has scored eight goals this season, four of which have come in the first period of play.  The fourth, against South Dakota, came in double overtime and the fifth through eighth were in the end of the second half at Sacramento State, Andrea Zuniga’s match tying goal and Brittney Neumann’s three goals last weekend.  Creighton started quick last season, as well, scoring 29 of the 50 goals in the opening frame.

That Was Rare
    The Jays were shutout against Oklahoma State, 1-0.  In the last three seasons, since 2008 when the current senior class came in as freshmen at Creighton, the Jays have only been shutout 14 times, four of which were 0-0, double overtime draws, while six of the matches were 1-0 losses.

Home Openers
    Creighton opened up at home on Friday, Sept. 2, falling 1-0 to then #5 Oklahoma State.  In 23 seasons of Bluejay soccer, the Jays now hold a 13-6-4 overall record in the first match at home.  The Jays are 6-4-3 in home-openers under head coach Bruce Erickson, and hold a 4-2-3 record since moving into Morrison Stadium in 2003. 
    The only other time the Jays have faced a ranked team in the home opener was in 2005, when they lost 2-0 to #25 Wisconsin.

Against the Numbers
    Creighton played then #5 Oklahoma State on Friday, September 2, just the second ranked women’s team to play at Morrison Stadium (#25 Wisconsin defeated the Jays 2-0 in 2005).  The Cowgirls are one of just six ranked teams the Jays have played in the 23 year history of the program.  Creighton is 0-5-1 against ranked opponents.  Below is a list of those matches:

9-20-02    at #19 Nebraska    T, 1-1 (2ot)
11-15-02    at #6 Santa Clara *    L, 5-1
11-12-04    at #8 Kansas *    L, 3-1
8-26-05    vs. #25 Wisconsin    L, 2-0
11-16-07    vs. #9 USC *    L, 3-0
9-2-11    vs. #5 Oklahoma State    L, 1-0
* - denotes a match played in the NCAA Tournament.
   
    The Jays faced Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament last season, falling 4-2.  The Gophers were receiving votes at the time.

Winning Ways
    This group of seniors has put together one of the best overall records thus far in their first three years, holding a 45-20-6 overall record.  In those three seasons, the team has put together four winning streaks of at least four wins, including the 10-match win streak a season ago.  This team has started out 2-0-0 twice now, during their freshman campaigns in 2008 and this season.  In both 2008 and 2009, however, it wasn’t until the fifth match that they lost, going 4-0-0 in the first four in 2008 and 3-0-1 in 2009. 
    The senior class has recently been ranked as the 31st winningest senior class in the nation by www.CollegeSoccer360.com.  The site recently compiled a list of current senior class records, and Creighton’s 43 wins place them 31st. 

On the Charts
    Junior forward Brittney Neumann will look to put her name in the all-time lists at Creighton.  The Omaha native inched a step closer over the weekend, netting all three of Creighton’s goals.  That puts her just three shy of the top five all-time charts.  Neumann, named both the MVC Freshman of the Year in 2009 and the MVC Player of the Year in 2010, missed the MVC Tournament and NCAA Tournament last season after a season-ending knee injury sidelined her following the Jays’ victory in the regular season championship match.

Valley’s Best
    For the third time in her Bluejay career, senior goalkeeper Alicia Montgomery was tabbed the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week on August 23, following play in the opening week of games.  The Walnut Creek, Calif., native helped the Jays secure their first win of the season, posting a 1-0 win over South Dakota State.
    Montgomery started off the 2011 season right where she ended the 2010 season, picking up her 16th career shutout, just one shy of the number five spot on the all-time Creighton charts.  Montgomery recorded seven saves, all in the second half, playing all 90 minutes in the 1-0 win.  It helped Creighton remain unbeaten in openers in the last five seasons, as they now hold a 3-0-2 record on opening day.
    Montgomery finished last season with a 0.88 goals against average, allowing just 13 goals in 16 matches, which put her second in the MVC in goals against average.  She also finished with a .851 save percentage, also good enough for second in the league.  Her 0.73 career goals against average is at the top of the charts in Creighton history, as second place holds a 0.96.

Smarty Pants
    Just a day after earning the MVC Defensive Player of the Week, Alicia Montgomery earned the fourth MVC Scholar-Athlete award of her Bluejay career.  The senior goalkeeper holds a 3.792 grade point average in mathematics and secondary education.

Creighton’s Leaders
Category    Leader    Number
Goals    Neumann    4
Assists    Cingoranelli    3
Points    Neumann    8
Saves    Montgomery    19
GAA    Swanson    0.71

Opening Day Numbers
    Creighton is now 12-9-2 all-time in season openers and are 5-6-0 when opening on the road.  Creighton is 5-6-2 on opening day under head coach Bruce Erickson.  The Jays played scoreless matches the last two opening day games, with a scoreless draw in 2009 against Iowa State and last years 0-0 tie against South Dakota State, before winning 1-0 against South Dakota State Aug. 19.  Both of the scoreless matches were played at home.  The Jays have not lost an opener at Morrison Stadium since 2006, going 3-0-2 in that span.

Picked by the Coaches
    Creighton is picked to repeat as the top team in the MVC this season, receiving 45 points and edging out Illinois State, who picked up 39.  The Jays will face the Redbirds in the final match of the regular season conference schedule in Normal, Ill.  Missouri State, the league runner-up from a season ago, sits at number three with 38 points and Indiana State was picked fourth earning 24 points.  Drake, Evansville and UNI round out the seven teams with 21, 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Pre-season Honors
    Creighton was picked to finish atop the MVC this season, returning nine starters from the 2010 season that  won both the regular season and tournament titles a season ago.  Three Jays were named to the MVC women’s soccer pre-season team, while three more Jays landed on the honorable mention list.  Brittney Neumann (junior forward), Lauren Cingoranelli (sophomore forward), and Andrea Zuniga (senior forward) were all voted to the pre-season All-MVC team, while Alicia Montgomery (senior goalkeeper), Erin Gunther (senior defender/midfielder) and Macy Mauer (senior defender) each picked up honorable mention pre-season accolades.

Leadership
    Head coach Bruce Erickson returns one of the most balanced squads for the 2011 campaign that he has put together in his 13-year reign at Creighton.  It is also one of the most experienced, with nine seniors on the 2011 Bluejay roster, seven of which started at least seven matches for the Jays a season ago.  Erickson stresses that while the Jays may be experienced, they will still need to stay healthy throughout the line-up when the conference portion of the season hits.

Snipers
    Creighton finished the 2010 season with 50 total goals, placing them second on the all-time charts in school history.  They finished with 2.38 goals per game, which put them ninth in the NCAA a season ago.  The Jays return the top four scorers from last season, which combined for 34 of the 50 goals.  Leading the group from a season ago are Andrea Zuniga and Brittney Neumann, who each drove in nine goals.  Lauren Cingoranelli and Erin Gunther each added eight goals of their own to the mix.  Bruce Erickson expects each of those players to have a better season than the year before, while also throwing out Emma Auld and Beth Fyles as scoring threats to knock out the other teams’ defense.

D-D-D-D Fence
    Creighton’s defense returns a solid nucleus from the team that posted a 0.83 goals against average and 10 shutouts a season ago.  While the Jays will  have to replace All-MVC backs Claire Zach and Emily Orbell, head coach Bruce Erickson is sure the leaders returning will easily adapt to a new crew.  In goal will be two of the best that have walked onto a Creighton pitch, with Alicia Montgomery and Katie Jo Swanson poised to defend the net.  Seniors Macy Mauer, Kelly Connolly and junior Kat Wright will remain in the starting line up, while sophomore Shonna Fraser and freshman Madelyn Buckner will look to gain a starting spot to plug up the middle of the backline.

Newcomers
    Creighton has just three new faces to meet this season, while returning one red shirt.  Becca Spinar (midfield/defense) redshirted a season ago and now is ready to throw her name in the hat for a starting spot, while freshman Stephanie Anasi (forward/midfield) and Madelyn Buckner (defender) will make an immediate impact in the Bluejay lineup.  Highly touted recruit Kelsey O’Donnell, an all-conference player at Sacramento State in her first two collegiate seasons, will sit out a season due to transfer rules, but will be ready to learn the Bluejay offense in the spring.

All Fixed
    2010 MVC Player of the Year Brittney Neumann might have been the most excited player on the Bluejay roster to get things started on Aug. 19, the 2011 season opener.  The junior, who is a two-time all-MVC player as well as a first-team All-Region player, hasn’t played for the Bluejays since scoring the match-winning goal against Illinois State in overtime last fall.  The goal gave the Jays the MVC regular season crown, but Neumann was injured in practice the next day.  She missed out on the MVC Tournament as well as NCAA Tournament last season, but is back and ready to strike again this season.

One for Fun
    The Bluejays and UNO played in the lone exhibition of the 2011 season last Saturday, with the two teams playing to a 1-1 tie.  Creighton got on the board first when Andrea Zuniga placed a shot from 35-yards out just under the cross bar and just over the outstretched UNO keepers fingers, giving the Jays the 1-0 edge.  The match remained in the Jays control until late in the second half, when a diving save by Katie Jo Swanson turned into a corner kick for the Mavs, which was converted for the lone goal of the match for UNO.  Swanson and Alicia Montgomery split time in goal, with head coach Bruce Erickson moving the rest of the offense and defense around to work with different combinations on the field. 

Morrison Stadium is Tops:
    This summer CollegeSoccerNews.com made a top-12 list of the most exciting venues to watch a college soccer match and Creighton’s Morrison Stadium topped the list.  Creighton ranked eighth in the NCAA in attendance in 2010 and has ranked in the NCAA top-10 in attendance in each of the last eight years.
    1. Morrison Stadium - Creighton
    2. Harder Stadium - UC Santa Barbara
    3. Ludwig Field - Maryland
    4. Cub Cadet Field - Akron
    5. Morrone Stadium - Connecticut
    6. Armstrong Stadium - Indiana
    7. UNM Soccer Complex - New Mexico
    8. Spry Stadium - Wake Forest
    9. Spanos Stadium - Cal Poly
    10. Merlo Field - Portland
    11. Hermann Stadium -  Saint Louis
    12. Belson Soccer Stadium - St. John’s

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