No. 17 Creighton men’s soccer (11-4-2) is entering the Big East tournament with the No. 1 seed, after winning the Big East regular season title for the first time since 2014.
It was a massive turnaround for the Bluejays, who were just 3-4-2 and finished sixth in the Big East a season ago. After the forgettable finish from last season and a preseason Big East poll that saw them predicted to finish fourth, Creighton overcame all expectations to claim the regular season crown.
Creighton ended their regular season with a tough 2-1 overtime loss on Oct. 31 in a Senior Night home matchup against conference foe Georgetown.
The game opened with a goal by senior forward Sven Koenig his 10th of the year. The senior received the ball on the right side of the box from junior defender Younes Boudadi and placed it past Giannis Nikopolidis at the near post for the 1-0 lead.
Georgetown’s Matt Ledder missed a shot that had game tying potential just before halftime, bringing the shot total to 6-5 in favor of Creighton. Twenty minutes into the second half Georgetown tied up the game 1-1 with a goal by the Hoyas’ Peter Schropp off a free kick.
The Bluejays took three more shots in the second half, trying to find a win, however all were saved by Nikopolidis. The game remained close as the shot total was sitting at a 14-12 advantage for Creighton.
The game went to overtime where Georgetown scored off the first shot of the period to win 2-1 just three minutes in overtime.
Kruse made six saves in the match, with the Jays shooting on target 11 times. Creighton’s defense held the Hoyas to only eight shots on goal.
The loss was the second home loss of the season, both taking place in extra time.
The Jays fell three spots from their previous No. 14 ranking in the new United Soccer Coaches Poll released this Tuesday after the lone loss to Georgetown. The Hoyas moved up to No. 19 after previously not being ranked.
Following the conclusion of the regular season, the Jays also had three All-Big East first team selections this season with the senior trio of Koenig, midfielder Joel Rydstrand and defender Akeem Ward.
Koenig scored ten goals over the course of the Big East season, a conference high. Rydstrand had a team-high five assists throughout Big East play, and Ward has two goals and four assists to his name from a defending position.
Senior defender Mitch LaGro made the All-Big East second team along with freshman Kruse, who also made the All-Big East freshman team. LaGro played every minute of conference action this season and helped Kruse record seven shutouts while allowing only allow six goals.
The Bluejays will play Marquette in the Big East semi-finals on Wednesday at Morrison at 7 p.m. The Golden Eagles reached the semi-finals by defeating Xavier in penalty kicks in a home quarter final matchup on Saturday to progress.
The Jays defeated the Golden Eagles on Oct. 24 2-1 in a close home contest. The winner will take on the winner of Providence and Georgetown for the Big East championship on Sunday.
This game took place after the Creightonian’s publication deadline. See creightonian.com for details.