Women's Soccer Travels to Illinois State with MVC Title in Reach

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Brittney Neumann scored the match-winner over the Redbirds last season
Courtesy: Eric Francis
Match 17 • Thursday, Oct. 27 • 3:00 p.m.
Creighton (9-5-2, 4-0-1)
at Illinois State (10-5-0, 4-1-0)
Adelaide Street Field • Normal, Ill.
Series: ISU leads 11-6-3
Final Regular Season Match 2011

 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.  Creighton’s goals against average now sits at 0.84, a number that is still leading the MVC.  Brittney Neumann leads the Jays with eight goals this season, including notching multiple-goal matches in three of five straight matches (Boise State, Evansville and Wright State) and Andrea Zuniga recorded her first multi-goal match of the season in the 4-2 win over Wright State to giver her three goals on the year.  Zuniga notched both of the match winning goals last season, two conference wins putting the Jays in a position to repeat as MVC regular season champions.
    Alicia Montgomery leads the team in goal with a 0.77 goals against average, dropping her already chart topping career goals against average to 0.78.  Montgomery has  posted six shutouts of her own, which put her in third place on the Creighton all-time charts in career shutouts (21).  The defense, led by seniors Kelly Connolly and Macy Mauer and freshman Madelyn Buckner, has allowed just 13 goals in 16 matches this season.   Creighton now sits at 9-5-2 on the year and 4-0-1 in MVC play following the 1-0 win over Indiana State on Saturday, the final home match for nine Bluejay seniors.

Meet the Opponent
Illinois State Redbirds
    Illinois State is coming into the regular season finale riding a four match win streak, and wins in seven of the last 10 matches.  The Redbirds currently sit at 10-5-0 on the season, holding a 4-1-0 record in MVC play.  Their only loss in conference play came at the hands of Missouri State, a 1-0 set back in Springfield.  Illinois State has only played in two overtime matches this season, winning both at DePaul (4-3) and at Northwestern (2-1).
    Offensively, the Redbirds are leading the conference in nearly every statistical category, including shots (293, 19.5 per match), points (105, 7.0 per match), goals (37, 2.47 per match) and assists (31, 2.07 per match).  They are led by Rachel Tejada, who has 17 goals on the season, a number that is just three shy of the MVC record for goals in a single season.  Tejada has earned MVC accolades five times this season, four as Newcomer of the Week and once as Offensive Player of the Week.  Jessica Carlson and Anna Stinson have each netted five goals, while six other Redbirds have at least one goal on the season. 
    Defensively the Redbirds have limited opponents to 18 goals on the season, with Mara Kremenovic and Aryn Newsom combining for a 1.17  goals against average, which is third in the league.  Newsom has seen the most playing time, holding an 8-4-0 record in goal.  The team has posted four total shutouts.
    The Redbirds are coming off one of the most historic wins in program history, as they defeated No. 10 Wisconsin Milwaukee in their match last Sunday.  The win is the first win over a top 10 team in school history.  Illinois State scored early, notching the first goal in the 7th minute, and then scored the final two after halftime, posting a 3-1 win over the No. 10 team.

Vs. Illinois State
     Illinois State has had a commanding lead over the Jays in the matches between the two schools, leading 11-6-3 in the 20 meetings.  Creighton won the lone meeting last season, netting a 2-1, overtime win in the final match of the regular season to secure the MVC regular season crown.  In 2009, the two teams met up twice,  with the Redbirds defeating the Jays twice, first winning 2-1 during the regular season, and then ending Creighton’s run in the Valley tournament, winning 1-0 in the championship.  Illinois State has won six of the last 11 meetings, with two ties thrown in the  mix.
    Five of the last six meetings between the two teams has ended in a 1-goal difference, three times going into overtime. 

Following the Jays
    Creighton’s match on Thursday at Illinois State will be available through live stats and live 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).

The Best Against the Best
    For the second straight weekend, the Jays will be pitted against a team with MVC Player of the Week honorees.  While Andrea Zuniga and Alicia Montgomery took home the MVC Offensive Player of the Week and MVC Goalkeeper of the Week, respectively, Illinois State holds the other two honors.  Kristin Cooley and Natalie McCabe were named Co-Defensive Players of the Week while Rachel Tejada claimed Newcomer of the Week.

We’ve Been Here Before
    Closing out the regular season with a match that has a lot weighing on it isn’t anything new for the Jays.  In fact, the Jays and Redbirds met up last season in the regular season finale, with a regular season crown on the line for the Jays.  In 2009, a late season tie and win in the regular season finale kept the Jays in 3rd place heading into the tournament, which they ended up falling to Illinois State in the finals. 

    The Bluejays and Illinois State have become all too familiar at the end of the season.  Last year, Creighton defeated the Redbirds 2-1 in overtime to win the regular season.  In 2009, the Redbirds claimed the MVC Tournament title with a 1-0 win over the Jays in the finals.  In the 2007 tournament final, the two teams tied 1-1 in double overtime, with Creighton advancing to the NCAA Tournament with a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks.  The same thing happened in the 2003 tournament final, a 0-0 double overtime draw, but the Redbirds advanced with a 5-4 edge in PK’s.  Creighton ended Illinois State’s season with a 1-0, overtime win in the 2002 MVC finals. 
    Needless to say, the two school’s are familiar with playing in high pressure situations.

Breaking it Waaaay Down
    The match on Thursday is turning out to hold a great deal of importance in the final standings in the Valley.  Creighton, Illinois State and Missouri State are all vying for both a win in the final match and one of the top two spots in next weeks State Farm  MVC Tournament.  Below is a breakdown of who wins based on the outcomes of the Creighton (4-0-1) vs. Illinois State (4-1-0) game and the Missouri State (4-0-1) at Evansville (1-4-0).  Three points are allocated for a win and one point for a tie.

CU Wins/MSU Wins
    Creighton and Missouri State will both finish with 5-0-1 records, 16 points in the league while Illinois State will have a 4-2-0 record and 12 points.  The winner would be based on goal differential, which currently gives MSU an advantage with 6 goals scored and one given up in Valley play vs. 6 goals scored and two given up for Creighton.

CU Wins/MSU Ties
    The Jays would win their second straight MVC regular season title outright, with a 5-0-1 record and 16 points.  Missouri State still finishes second with a 4-0-2 record while Illinois State is third with a 4-2-0 finish.

CU Wins/MSU Loses
    CU again wins, with a 5-0-1 record and 16 points, against a 4-1-1 record and 13 points for MSU and a 4-2-0 record and 12 points for Illinois State.

CU Ties/MSU Wins
    MSU will finish with a 5-0-1 record and 16 points, Creighton with a 4-0-2 record and 14 points, while Illinois State finishes with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points.

CU Ties/MSU Ties
    The Jays and Bears finish with identical 4-0-2 records, 14 points each, and it comes down to goal differential for first and second place.  Illinois State remains in third with a 4-1-1 record, just one point behind the top spot.

CU Ties/MSU Loses
    Creighton remains atop the standings with a 4-0-2 finish, while Illinois State and Missouri State tie with 4-1-1 records.  Missouri State would be the No. 2 seed based on head-to-head performance against Illinois State, as MSU beat ISU 1-0.

CU Loses/MSU Wins
    MSU wins the league with a 5-0-1 record, while Illinois State comes in second with a 5-1-0 record.  The Bears edge out the Redbirds with a 1 point advantage, 16-15.  Creighton finishes third with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points.

CU Loses/MSU Loses
    Illinois State sneaks in to win the league, finishing with a 5-1-0 edge and 15 points.  Creighton and Missouri State both hold a 4-1-1 record, giving them each 13 points, and in that scenario, Missouri State is the No. 2 seed (since MSU beat ISU and Creighton lost to ISU).

CU Loses/MSU Ties
    The Redbirds would win the title, compiling a 5-1-0 record with 15 points.  MSU would sit second with a 4-0-2 record and 14 points an Creighton comes in third with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points.

** Should the goal differential be identical as well as points and conference record, goals scored in conference matches will then come into play as a tie-breaker.

Senior Success
    Creighton honored nine seniors with a 1-0 win over Indiana State last Saturday, marking one of the largest classes under the Bruce Erickson tenure.  The Jays honored Kelly Connolly, Beth Fyles, Erin Gunther, Rachelle Holt, Macy Mauer, Tessa McKeone, Alicia Montgomery, Kat Wright and Andrea Zuniga.  Collectively, this group of seniors has put together a 49-21-7 overall record in the last four seasons, including a record 15 wins during the 2010 season and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.  The group has posted 37 shutouts in the 77 matches, the most of any four year group in Creighton history.

Battle at the Top
    For the second straight season, Creighton and Missouri State met as two of the top teams in The Valley.  The Bears came into the October 15th match without a conference loss, sitting at 3-0-0, while the Jays were also undefeated with a 2-0-0 mark.  After a 1-1, double overtime tie, the two teams still are without a blemish, as MSU holds a 4-0-1 record and the Jays have a 4-0-1 mark.  Illinois State remains the only other team in the league with four wins in conference play, holding a 4-1-0 mark.

    Bluejay freshman Stephanie Anasi notched her first collegiate goal for the Jays in the 1-1 tie against Missouri State.  The newcomer found herself with an open shot in front of the goal after a cross from Lauren Cingoranelli and the Texas native buried the ball in the back of the net.  Anasi has started each of the last six matches, taking just four shots on the season.

Blemish Free
    Creighton and Missouri State remain the only two teams without a loss in Valley play, as they played to a 1-1, double overtime draw Saturday, October 15.  Creighton (4-0-1) and Missouri State (4-0-1) will look to close out conference play without any losses.  Creighton has only gone through conference play without a blemish one other season, a 6-0-1 mark in 2002 when they won the regular season and tournament.  Last year, Creighton was 4-0-0 going into their match at Missouri State but dropped an overtime 2-1 loss there.  The Jays still won the regular season with a 2-1 overtime win against Illinois State.

Next Up:
    Depending on the outcome of the match on Thursday, the Jays will either enter the first round of the State Farm MVC Tournament on Sunday, October 30, or advance directly to the semifinals in Springfield, Mo., on Friday, November 4.  Should the Jays not earn one of the top two seeds, they will host a first round match at 1:30 on Sunday, October 30, with the opponent to be determined.
    Creighton is 13-1-1 in its first match of the State Farm MVC Tournament, whether it be the opening round or the semi-final round.  The Jays have only played in the opening round of the tournament in five seasons, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2009.  Overall in tournament, play the Jays hold a 19-8-3 record and two tournament titles.

It’s Tournament Time
    The Jays have clinched a spot in the MVC Tournament for the 15th straight season with their 4-0-1 start.  The question now... What seed will the Jays get?  If Creighton wins the final match of the season, they will set themselves up for at least a share of the title with Missouri State.  A loss in the final match could also keep the Jays in the top two, but could drop them to the third seed as well.  The top two seeds will get an opening round bye in the MVC Tournament, while seeds three through six will play in the opening round, played at individual school sites.  The semifinals and final match will be played in Springfield, Mo., November 4th and 6th.

Bluejay Quick Facts
• Creighton finished the non-conference portion of its schedule at  5-5-1 against non-conference opponents, including 3-3-0 mark at home this season. 

• The Jays finished their home schedule with a 5-3-1 at home this season.  It marks the first time in the last five seasons the Jays haven’t won at least six home regular season matches.

Brittney Neumann again led the Jays to another victory, notching two goals in the 4-2 win.  That marks the sixth time in her Bluejay career the Omaha native has notched multiple-goal matches, including in three of the last five matches.  She currently leads the team and with eight goals on the season.  Neumann has 24 career goals, placing her in fifth on the top-five all-time Creighton charts.

• The 1-0 win over Northern Iowa on September 23 marked the fifth win of the season, all five to that point, had 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.

• The Jays still hold the best goals against average in the MVC, posting a combined 0.84 gaa.  The duo of Alicia Montgomery and Katie Jo Swanson have given up 13 goals in the 16 matches.  They have also combined for eight shutouts this season, including six by Montgomery.

•  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.  Creighton has now played five overtime matches this season, holding a 1-2-2 record.

Creighton’s Leaders
Category    Leader    Number
Goals    Neumann    8
Assists    Cingoranelli    6
Points    Neumann    17
Saves    Montgomery    66
GAA    Montgomery    0.77

Strong Valley Starts
    The Jays are one of just two teams this season who are undefeated in Valley play.  Creighton has opened 2-0-0 in five different seasons since joining the MVC in 1997, but has started 3-0-0 just two times (2002 and 2010, both seasons they won the conference regular season crown).  The 2002 team finished with a 6-0-1 record, while last year the Jays went 5-1-0.

Offensive Eruption
    After not scoring more than two goals in a match all season, and not combining with an opponent to score more than four, the Jays and Wright State scored six total goals, four of which came in the opening half, in fact, in a 20 minute span.  Brittney Neumann and Andrea Zuniga each scored twice on the night for Creighton.

Must be in the Water
    After notching just 11 goals in the first 11 matches of the season, and just five at home (just eight when combined with opponents), the Jays broke free on Wednesday, October 5 vs. Wright State and scored four goals, two each by Brittney Neumann and Andrea Zuniga

Another Accolade
    Senior goalkeeper Alicia Montgomery picked up her second MVC Defensive Player of the Week award, following Creighton’s 2-1 win over Evansville, improving the Jays to 2-0-0 in MVC play.  Montgomery has allowed just five goals on the season, posting four shutouts, good for a 0.82 goals against average.

On the Charts
    Creighton’s Brittney Neumann and Alicia Montgomery have both put their names on the Creighton all-time charts, helped out by outstanding play on each of their parts this season.  Neumann, a junior from Omaha, sits in fifth in goals scored in a career (24), while Montgomery, a senior from California, is in third place for career shutouts (21) and sits atop the list for career goals against average (0.74).

Non-Conference Dominance
    Creighton has had great success against non-conference teams since moving into Morrison Stadium, holding a 70-36-14 overall record (.625).  The Jays have won at least six non-conference matches each of the last eight seasons, and sit at 5-4-1 going into the match Sunday, the final non-conference regular season match.

Happy at Home
    The Jays hold a 5-3-1 record when playing at home this season.  Eleven of Creighton’s 19 goals on the season have come while playing at Morrison Stadium, and the defense has given up just seven goals at home.  Brittney Neumann has five goals and an assist at home, good for 11 points.  The record for goals at Morrison Stadium in a single-season is 10, while 23 points sit atop the charts as well.

Saving the Day
    Creighton knocked on the door early in the game against Evansville, as Brittney Neumann notched another two-goal game, scoring both in the first 16 minutes of play, to give the Jays a clean slate in MVC play at 2-0-0.  As equally important in the match, however, was the play of the defense and Alicia Montgomery, who held off an aggressive Evansville attack.  Montgomery finished with seven saves, surrendering one goal in the 2-1 win.  She has now lowered her goals against average to 0.82 on the season.

Homefield Advantage
    Creighton opened its final three-match homestand Wednesday, Oct. 5, against Wright State with a 4-2 win, and then welcomed Kansas on Sunday and Missouri State on Saturday, October 15.  The Jays sit at  4-3-1 at home this season, including winning the last three at home.  The Jays have won at least six home regular season matches in each of the last five seasons.  The streak will come to an end this season, as Saturday marks Creighton’s final regular season home match.

We Play Defense
    Creighton has posted eight shutouts this season, including three straight from September 18 through September 25.  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.  They hold 37 career shutouts, led by goalkeeper Alicia Montgomery, who has 21 shutouts in goal, a number that sits 3rd on the Creighton all-time charts and 6th in MVC history.

Last Week
    Creighton defeated Drake in their only mid-week match last week, scoring late for a 1-0 win in Des. Moines.  Creighton’s Andrea Zuniga netted  her fourth goal of the season in the 69th minute, while Alicia Montgomery denied 11 shots to hold on for her fifth shutout of the season and another Bluejay win.
    The Jays then shutout Indiana State 1-0 at home on senior day.  Zuniga again netted the lone goal for the Jays, while Montgomery picked up her sixth shutout of the season.

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 on September 27.  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, Sept. 23, 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 in the Sept. 16-18 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  13 matches this season, tying for first in the MVC with Missouri State.  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 15 assists on the season, with six coming from sophomore Lauren Cingoranelli.  The Aurora, Colo., native dished out six assists total last 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.

    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. 

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 14-10-23 overall record when the match goes more than 90 minutes.  In single overtime, Creighton is 7-6-1, while they hold a 7-4-22 mark in double overtime matches.  So far on this season, the Jays are 1-2-1 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.  The Jays fell in their last overtime match - a 2-1 loss to Kansas on October 9.

Just a Slip
    Creighton sits at 9-5-2 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 started off the season slow offensively.  They have moved up in the numbers, scoring seven goals in the last three matches, as they started last in many of the columns.  Below is a list of where the Jays sit in the Valley in offensive statistical categories:
    Shots    199    4th
    Points    55    3rd
    Goals    19    4th
    Assists    17    3rd

    Neumann - Shots    46    4th
    Neumann - Points    17    T-3rd
    Neumann - Goals    8    T-2nd
    Neumann - GW Goals    3    T-3rd
    Cingoranelli - Assists    6    T-2nd
    Zuniga - Shots     56    2nd
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 30 shutouts over the last 56 matches, including 11 in 2009 and eight  this season.  Katie Jo Swanson picked up two shutouts in her first two appearances in goal this season, while Alicia Montgomery holds a 0.77 goals against average and a .892 save percentage.  Below is where the defense ranks in the Valley:
    Goals Allowed    13    1st
    Goals Against Average    0.84    1st
    Saves    83    5th
    Shutouts    8    T-1st

    Montgomery - GAA    0.84    1st
    Montgomery - Save %    0.892    1st
    Montgomery - Saves    66    T-4th
    Montgomery - Shutouts    6    2nd

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 six 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 58 corner kicks on the season, giving up 78 to opponents.

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 15 times, five 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 48-21-6 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 48 wins place them 31st. 

On the Charts
    Junior forward Brittney Neumann will look to move up on the all-time lists at Creighton.  The Omaha native inched a step closer over the weekend, netting both of Creighton’s goals.  That puts her at 24 career goals, putting her at number five on 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.

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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

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

Jays Video
(W) Soccer
WSOC Highlights vs. CSU, 9-20-15
(W) Soccer
WSOC Highlights vs. SDSU, 9-6-15
(W) Soccer
WSOC vs. Omaha Highlights - 9-4-15
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