Bluejays headed to Sweet 16 of Men’s Soccer NCAA tournament

The Creighton men’s soccer team defeated the Oregon State Beavers 1-0 Sunday afternoon to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

With two more victories, the Jays will qualify for the College Cup for the third time in four seasons.

Last season was the only year under the direction of coach Elmar Bolowich that Creighton did not advance past its first game in the NCAA tournament. The Bluejays were defeated 2-1 by Seattle University in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament on a snowy evening at Morrison Stadium.

The Bluejays will host Big East foe Xavier in the third round on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Creighton and Xavier played to a 1-1 draw in Cincinnati, Ohio on Oct. 18.

The Bluejays are 11-2-0 at home this season and own a 12-2-0 record all-time at Morrison Stadium in the NCAA tournament.

This is Creighton’s 10th appearance in the third round of the NCAA tournament since 2000.

In Sunday’s match, freshman Lucas Stauffer scored during the 50th minute to put Creighton ahead. Stauffer’s goal was his fourth of the season and his third game-winner.

The Owensboro, Kentucky native has 30 shots and 17 shots on goal to lead the Jays in shots-on-goal percentage (.567).

Georgetown and Providence also won Sunday to give the Big East Conference a perfect 4-0 record in the second round.

Creighton was not ranked in the pre-season, but was voted as high as No. 2 in the NSCAA poll and No. 1 in the College Soccer News Top 30 during the regular season and now stands as one of the remaining 16 teams still playing.

Men’s soccer looks to move past Big East semifinal loss and direct kicks toward NCAAs

Despite claiming the Big East regular-season championship, the Creighton men’s soccer team played in only one game at the 2014 Big East Men’s Soccer Championship. The Jays were the No. 1 seed and automatically earned a spot in the semifinal round.

Creighton traveled to Philadelphia on Thursday for the Big East Championships.

The Jays faced the Providence Friars in the semifinals on Friday. On Nov. 7, Creighton defeated Providence 3-0 to claim the regular-season crown, but this weekend was a different story.

Neither team pushed across a goal in the opening 45, but Providence slipped a goal past Connor Sparrow late in the second half.

The lone goal was all the Friars needed to advance to championship game on Sunday.

On Monday, the NCAA Men’s Soccer Committee selected Creighton as the No. 12 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

The Jays were one of three Big East schools to earn a first-round bye.

Multiple teams encompassing Creighton Athletics have advanced to the NCAA Tournament over the past three decades.

 

Jays complete Big East season with title

 

The Creighton men’s soccer team shutout the Providence Friars 3-0 on Friday night to secure its first Big East regular-season championship in program history.

The title was also Creighton’s second overall. The other championship was claimed by the baseball team last spring.

With the crown, the Jays earned the No. 1 seed in the Big East Men’s Soccer Championship. They also clinched a bye into the semifinals.

Creighton opened Big East play with a 1-0 win at Villanova on Sept. 27.

The Bluejays added three one-goal victories to their name during a week and a half time period before a 1-1 draw against Xavier.

The Jays were on the losing end of a 1-0 match against Georgetown on Oct. 25 at Morrison Stadium, but finished with three victories to end the regular season.

Fabian Herbers, Timo Pitter, Ricardo Perez and Lucas Stauffer each tallied three goals during conference play to lead Creighton.

Pitter led the Jays with 37 shots in nine games. Overall, Creighton maintained a theme of offense dominance throughout the season, holding a substantial advantage in shots. During the conference schedule, the Jays out-shot Big East foes 136-64. Much of the team’s offensive success was because of its pressing style of offense. The Jays did a good job of making opponents play their style for the full 90 minutes of action.

Creighton travels to Chester, Pa. this week to square-off against Providence or Villanova on Friday evening in the semifinals of the Big East Championships.

Last season, the Jays were defeated in the quarterfinals of the Big East Championships by Providence, but still earned a spot as an at-large in the NCAA tournament.

Creighton is two wins away from the school’s first Big East Tournament Championship and an automatic birth in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

 

 

Women’s soccer ends season on high note after slumping through Big East

Creighton soccerThe Creighton women’s soccer team defeated Xavier on Friday, to close the 2014 season with a win. Friday’s victory was only the Jays’ second Big East conference win of the season.  Following an 8-1 showing in the nonconference portion of the schedule, Creighton shut the door on the season with a 2-5-2 Big East record.

The Bluejays finished in eighth place in the conference with eight points.

The Jays started off the conference slate with a 7-2 loss at Marquette. Creighton knew it would need a better defensive showing in order to compete in the league.

Creighton was shutout in its conference home-opener, but senior Addison Nokels had a game-winner in the second overtime against Providence on Oct. 2 at Morrison Stadium, giving the Jays a glimmer of hope after two rough defeats.

Creighton hosted five of its nine Big East opponents, but the result against Providence was the only victory on the pitch inside Morrison Stadium.

After a 1-1 draw against Seton Hall, the Jays were shutout in three consecutive matches, including twice against ranked foes.

Creighton and Butler played to a 1-1 tie on Oct. 25, before the Jays ended the season against Xavier.

CU was outscored 16-7 in nine conference games.

The Bluejays’ opponents held only a 120-108 shot advantage, but more than half of the conference-counterpart’s shots were directed towards the Bluejay net (.542), compared to only 40.7 percent of the Jays shots.

Sophomores Lauren Sullivan and Ylenia Sachau led the Jays with two goals each during conference play to pace the Jays.

Sophomore Danielle Rice controlled the net in all nine conference games. The Westlake, Texas native had 49 saves.

Sights around Morrison Stadium

A statue of Creighton’s mascot, Billy Bluejay, guards Morrison Stadium. Based on tradition, students rub Billy’s beak for good luck before each game.

Billy statue

 

The Bluejay women’s soccer team lines up near midfield with a group of future Bluejays. As part of the annual Pink Out game, local youth soccer players were provided with the opportunity to stand with the Jays during the National Anthem.

 

Starting lineup

 

The crowd at Morrison Stadium erupts in applause as the Creighton starting lineup is announced before the Pink Out game against the Villanova Wildcats on Oct. 16. The Wildcats defeated the Jays 2-0.

Morrison crowd

The soccer ball sits at the northwest corner of the field prior to a Creighton corner kick. The men’s soccer team has attempted 86 corner kicks through 15 games, while the women’s team has attempted 69 through 17 games.

Corner kick

 

Women’s coach Bruce Erickson (at right) observes the action on the pitch. The 2014 season is Erickson’s 16th year at Creighton.

 

Coach Erickson

 

The trophy room hosts a pair of NCAA semifinalist trophies. The Creighton men’s soccer team reached the College Cup in 2011 and 2012. With a 12-2-2 record, the Jays are poised to make a deep postseason run and a possible return to the national semifinals this season.

Trophy

 

 

Inside Morrison Stadium for Bluejay practice and preparation

Jays Practice
A few of the Jays gather near the west sideline.

This week’s Creighton soccer update includes an event-blog of the Creighton men’s soccer practice held on Thursday, Oct. 9.

 

3:50: The Jays enter the field wearing all-blue jersey tops, black shorts and black socks. Some are wearing short sleeves, while others are sporting long sleeves. The goalies feature black outfits.

3:53: The Bluejays form four lines along the east side of the field to begin warm-ups, while coaches finish preparing the field. The three Bluejay goalies go through their own warm-up routine.

4:02: The athletes continue with partner exercises.

4:03: Myles Englis and Sean Kim work on some light ball skills along the west sideline. Both Englis and Kim attempt to make the most of their time out of the actual practice setting.

4:06: The warm-ups move from basic calisthenics to core exercises including planks and front falls.

4:11: The Jays are split into four groups of four for a passing drill. Two groups are near the north goal while the others are near the south end.

4:14: The two ends of the field participate in four-on-four drills. High-intensity offense versus defense. There is also an extra player on both ends that wears a different colored penny and plays offense the entire time.

4:17: Fabian Herbers slips a goal past assistant coach Justin Hughes for the first score by the team wearing pennies on the north-end.

4:23: Two of the foursomes switch ends of the field to present new match-ups.

4:24: The new team on the north end scores three quick goals. Mike Paye yells, “That’s too easy,” as the second goal slips past goalie Alex Bolowich.

4:31: The final match-up between the groups starts. It appears they are keeping track of wins and losses, because assistant coach Johnny Torres yells that one of the teams is 1-1.

4:38: The losing team on the north end in the final match-up is forced to move one of the extra goals off the field.

4:42: Coach Bolowich splits the team into two teams to play 10-against-10 on three-quarters of the field.

4:46: Coach Bolowich stops the action to offer advice on how to handle a particular situation.

4:48: Herbers gets past the defense on the right side and fires a pass towards the left-side of the box, but Ricardo Perez misses a header by a matter of feet. He nearly finished the impressive play with a diving header directed at Bolowich.

4:51: After the sun had been non-existent, the east half of the field becomes sun-covered as the big ball of gas makes an appearance.

4:57: The Jays take a short break for water. Some of the guys are stretching out to make sure they’re nice and loose for the remainder of the session.

5:03: After play resumes, Jose Ribas sends a pass across the box from the left side, but Lucas Stauffer is unable to handle it. Neither squad has scored a goal. In a way that is good, but in another way it could seem like a negative.

5:07: The 10-against-10 scrimmage concludes and the Jays move on to practice penalty kicks. Maybe a goal will be scored during this, because there wasn’t one during the last half hour of practice.

5:13: The Jays conclude practice. Following the workout, coach Bolowich said that he wished practice had gone more efficiently.

“I think it was not the right focus,” Bolowich said, “so I wish it would have gone a little smoother; a little better; a little quicker, but you have days like that where some are better and some are not as great.”

 

 

 

Creighton men’s soccer holds an impressive advantage in shot attempts

Billy statueThrough 10 games, the Creighton men’s soccer team has 97 more shot attempts than its opponents. The Jays’ offensive dominance has resulted in eight wins, one loss and one draw.

The Bluejays lead the Big East conference in shots per game and goals scored.

The Jays have 161 shot attempts (16.1/game) and 17 goals.

They have held the competition to only 64 attempts (6.4/game) and allowed only five goals.

Germans Fabian Herbers and Timo Pitter share the team lead in shots with 31 a piece. Herbers also leads the Jays in goals with five, and Pitter has four assists for tops on the team.

All 16 Bluejays that have appeared on the pitch have recorded at least one shot. Seven different players have more than 10.

Much of the team’s success has been as a result of their aggressive style of play. Early offensive attacks have forced opponents to play the Jays’ style.

The Jays are also the lone Big East squad with a perfect conference record after the first two weekends of play.

Creighton was on a similar tear a season ago with 162 shots and 17 goals in its first 10 matches and were 6-2-2. However, the Jays slumped to the finish line with a 3-7 record and an early exit in the quarterfinals of Big East tournament play and in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Jays’ plan to reverse the storyline this season will be focused on playing coach Elmar Bolowich’s style of pressing. So far the stats prove they have done an impressive job of playing his style, but as they continue through conference play it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their dominance.