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ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) men's soccer coaches have selected Creighton as the favorite to defend its 2011 MVC title as the 2012 preseason poll and preseason all-MVC team were announced by the league office Tuesday morning. 


Creighton garnered four of the seven first-place votes and four Bluejays were voted to the preseason all-conference team.

The Bluejays totaled 46 of the possible 49 points in the poll, as the clear-cut favorite in the MVC in 2012. Last season the Jays posted a 21-2-1 record, falling in to Charlotte in a shootout at the NCAA College Cup.  Creighton shared the MVC regular-season title with Missouri State as both teams finished with a 5-1-0 mark.  After falling to Missouri State in the regular-season, the Jays exacted a measure of revenge by defeating the Bears in MVC tournament final.


Slated for a second-place finish is Missouri State with 38 points in the poll, including three first-place votes.  Bradley is picked to finish third, just a few points back with 34.

SIU Edwardsville (27) and Drake (21) were picked to finish fourth and fifth respectively, while Evansville (18) and Central Arkansas (12) round out the poll.

Creighton leads all Valley teams with four representatives on the 2012 MVC Preseason All-Conference Team.  Seniors Jose Gomez and Andrew Ribeiro are joined by junior Bruno Castro and sophomore Eric Miller on the preseason team.  Each of Creighton's four preseason All-Conference team members also were recognized following the 2011 season.  Castro and Gomez were 2011 All-MVC Second Teamers, Ribeiro received All-MVC Honorable Mention, while Miller was on the All-MVC Freshman Team.

Castro is the leading returner for the Jays, he posted six goals and eight assists last season.  Gomez, a midfielder, ranked third on the team in points (16), with four goals and eight assists.  Ribeiro was right behind Castro and Gomez last season with four goals and one assist for a combined nine points, while Miller finished the season with two assists.


The Jays have now been picked atop the league preseason poll in seven of the last eight seasons and have been picked to win the league 14 times, including every year between 1993-99.


Head coach Elmar Bolowich is in his second season at Creighton after spending the previous 22 campaigns at North Carolina. Bolowich and assistants Johnny Torres and Justin Hughes were named the 2011 MVC Coaching Staff of the Year.  The 2001 NSCAA National Coach of the year and NCAA Champion, Bolowich has led his teams to four consecutive College Cups (North Carolina in 2008, '09 and '10 and Creighton in 2011).

The Bluejays play a pair of exhibition matches at Morrison Stadium this week, playing No. 9 Maryland on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m., followed by a match against Nebraska Omaha on Sunday at 4 p.m.  CU's regular-season opener is set for Aug. 24 as the Jays host Northern Illinois at 7:30 p.m. in Morrison Stadium.


Player, Team  Pos.  Cl.  Ht.  Hometown (Previous School) 
Brian Billings, Bradley
Apple Valley, Minn. (Shattuck-St. Mary's)
Bruno Castro, Creighton
M Jr.
San Jose, Costa Rica (North Carolina)
Garrett Crall, Drake
D Jr. 6-5
Norwalk, Iowa (Norwalk)
Jose Gomez, Creighton
M Sr. 5-9
Santa Ana, Calif. (Cal State Fullerton) 
Jochen Graf, Bradley F
Sr. 6-0
Double Oak, Texas (SMU)
Benny Jeffery, SIUE
Sr. 5-11
Florissant, Mo. (Hazelwood Central)
Eric Miller, Creighton
M So.
6-1 Woodbury, Minn. (Woodbury)
Matt Polster, SIUE M
Las Vegas, Nev. (Palo Verde)
Andrew Ribeiro, Creighton 
Sr. 6-0
Green Bay, Wisc. (Notre Dame Academy)
Jesse Sharp, Evansville
5-8 Warsaw, Indiana (Warsaw Community)
Matt Taphorn, Central Arkansas D So. 6-1 Denver, Colo. (Rangeview)
Andrew Turner, Missouri State
Sheffield, England (Aston Comprehensive)

2012 MVC Men's Soccer Preseason Poll
School (1st place votes)
Total Points
1. Creighton (4)
Missouri State (3)
Bradley 34
SIU Edwardsville
Drake 21
7. Central Arkansas

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