Women's Soccer Hosts Northern Iowa in MVC Tournament Quarterfinal Sunday

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Lauren Cingoranelli
Courtesy: Eric Francis
Match 18 • Sunday, October 30 • 1:00 p.m.
Creighton (9-6-2, 4-1-1)
vs. Northern Iowa (8-9-2, 2-4-0)
Morrison Stadium • Omaha, Neb.
Series: CU leads 12-1-2
Quarterfinal Round of the MVC Tournament

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.
    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 two match winning goals against Drake and Indiana State to give the Jays two conference wins prior to the match at Illinois State.
    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 1.27, going above 1.00 for the first time this season.  Alicia Montgomery has a 1.29 gaa while Katie Jo Swanson holds a 1.23.  Montgomery has posted six shutouts of her own, eight for the team, 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 21 goals in 17 matches this season.   Creighton now sits at 9-6-2 on the year and 4-1-1 in MVC play.

Meet the Opponent
Northern Iowa Panthers
    The Northern Iowa Panthers were picked to finish seventh in the MVC Preseason Poll, finishing one spot ahead with an 8-9-2, 2-4-0 record this season.  Head coach James Price led his team to a program first five-match winning streak earlier this season, the first time the feat has been accomplished in 12 years of soccer at Northern Iowa.  The team also doubled their wins from the 2010 campaign, as they finished with a 4-12-2 overall record a season ago.
    Eight different Panthers have notched at least a single goal this season, with six players racking up two or more.  Leading the charge is Ashley Capone who has four goals and two assists for 10 points this season.  Melissa Hagan and Claire Clark have three goals  piece, while Missy Journot and Kelsey Dolder lead the assist column with three dishes each.  Collectively, the team has scored 20 goals this season on 115 shots on goal.
    Defensively the Panthers have allowed 22 goals, 11 each by Erin Zaideman (a 1.16 goals against average) and Lauren Potzman (1.26 goals against average).  The duo has posted six shutouts on the season and holds a .788 save percentage.
Vs. Northern Iowa
    Creighton and Northern Iowa are familiar foes on the pitch, with the Jays holding a 12-1-2 overall record against the Panthers.   Creighton won the match earlier this season, 1-0, on Shonna Fraser’s first career goal in the MVC regular season opener.  The Jays also took the lone match last season, 3-2, in Waterloo.  After Nicole Ferlito scored for the Panthers just eight minutes into the match, the Jays put up three unanswered goals, two before halftime by Erin Gunther and Brittney Neumann, and one in the 60th minute of play by Macy Mauer.  Ferlito added another goal in the 71st minute of play, but the Jays defense held off UNI for Creighton’s seventh win in a row.

Earlier this Season
    On September 23, the Jays and Panthers met up at Morrison Stadium for the first conference match of the 2011 soccer season.  The Jays came out on top with a 1-0 win, when Shonna Fraser scored her first collegiate goal.  The sophomore  scored the match’s lone goal in the 67th minute off a Brittany Neumann feed.  The Jays outshot UNI 12-7, with each team taking five shots on goal in the match.

Four for Four
    In the win-or-go-home format of most postseason tournaments, including the MVC Tournament, the Jays have always ended up on the win side when facing the Panthers.  Creighton and UNI have met up three previous times in the tournament, including two quarterfinal matches.  Creighton has won all three matches, allowing just one goal in the three.
    2002    CU 2-0     Semifinals    St. Louis
    2003    CU 2-1 (ot)    Quarterfinals    Cedar Falls
    2007    CU 2-0    Quarterfinals    Omaha

In the Tournament
    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 4-1-1 start.  Creighton enters the tournament as the three seed, finishing conference regular season play in third for the sixth time, second in the last three years.  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.

    What a difference a season makes.  With the 1-0 win over Illinois State in the 2010 season finale, Creighton won its first MVC regular season title since 2002.  It also gave Creighton the top seed in the MVC Tournament, and a win over Evansville and overtime win over Missouri State gave the Jays a berth in the NCAA Tournament.  This season, with the loss on Thursday at Illinois State, the Jays will play in the quarterfinal match in Omaha prior to traveling to Springfield, Mo., for the semifinals and finals.  Three wins total will send the Jays to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time since 2002.

Following the Jays
    Creighton’s match on Sunday in the quarterfinal of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament 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).

Never Too Late
    Even though the Jays came out with an unfavorable loss at Illinois State, dropping an 8-1 decision, senior Tessa McKeone scored her first career goal for the Jays.  The Omaha native hit a ball off the post and into the net in the 87th minute of play to get a single tally on the board and avoid a shutout.  McKeone is one of nine seniors on this year’s Creighton team.

Back at It
    The Jays have allowed five goals or more just five times in Bruce Erickson’s 13 years at the helm, including the loss last Thursday at Illinois State.  Three of the five matches took place during the regular season, one was in the NCAA Tournament and the loss on Thursday.  In the three regular season matches, the Jays have been victorious in the following match, outscoring opponents 14-4 in the next match.   Creighton will meet up with Northern Iowa looking to continue that stat.

Double Dipping
    Creighton picked up double MVC Player of the Week honors last week, as Alicia Montgomery earned Goalkeeper POW and Andrea Zuniga Offensive POW.
    Montgomery earned her third MVC Player of the Week award last Tuesday, picking up the honor after two 1-0 shutouts against Drake and Indiana State.  The senior saved 12 shots against Drake, the second highest number all season. 
    Zuniga was also a big part of those 1-0 wins, scoring both goals on the week en route to her first MVC Offensive Player of the Week award this season.  Zuniga scored the lone goals in each of the matches to send give Creighton a chance at the MVC regular season title.

    The Bluejays and Illinois State have become all too familiar at the end of the season.  In the last match of the 2011 season, the Redbirds defeated Creighton 8-1 just last Thursday.  In 2010, 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.

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 49-22-7 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 78 matches, the most of any four year group in Creighton history.

Shaken, not Stirred
    For the second straight season, the MVC regular season crown came down to the final match of the season.  The six teams that earned a spot in the MVC Tournament also relied heavily on the final night of play.  Creighton and Missouri State started the day as the top two teams in the Valley, but a Bluejay loss to Illinois State allowed the Redbirds to jump over the Jays.  With Missouri State’s win and a loss for Evansville, the Purple Aces dropped out of contention for a bid in the tournament, allowing Indiana State in.

Remember That?
    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 sat without a blemish, as MSU holds a 4-0-1 record and the Jays have a 4-0-1 mark. That remained true until the Jays were defeated by Illinois State and Missouri State fell at Evansville.  No team in the Valley finished without a loss this season.

    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.

Next Up:
    Creighton  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.
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 two 1-0 conference match finals, and the Jays have eight 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.

•  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    Swanson    1.23

Strong Valley Starts
    The Jays started the season as just one of two teams who were 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.

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 eight shutouts in the 17 matches this season, tying for first in the MVC with Missouri State.  Alicia Montgomery has posted six of the eight, moving her career total to 21, 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 17 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 9-6-2 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. 

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 48-22-6 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.

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