Until the 2016 season, Creighton men’s soccer had earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament 23 of the last 24 years.
Out of all visits between 1992 and 2016, the team managed to win at least one round in 17 of those years. Since that 2016 season, the Jays haven’t made the NCAA Tournament’s field of 48, despite the healthy records and play against ranked opponents. Without winning the Big East Conference tournament, Creighton has had to hope for one of the 24 at-large bid spots to be awarded to the team.
It seems that the committee heavily factors in recent performance leading up to the tournament. Last season, the Jays managed to put together a record of 11- 4-3, including a 7-1-1 mark in Big East conference play.
While the Bluejays held the No. 1 seed in the Big East, they lost to No. 4 Marquette in the semifinals of the conference playoffs. To get into the NCAA tournament, they would have to be awarded one of the at-large bids by the tournament committee. Creighton’s only conference loss came in their last regular season game to Georgetown before also dropping the Big East postseason game by the slimmest of margins, a 10-9 defeat in penalty kicks. Many thought Creighton would still earn an NCAA Tournament spot, considering the team’s healthy resume against ranked opponents and good record.
However, it didn’t pan out that way and the Bluejays were left on the outside looking in for the second season in a row.
This year, Creighton has started out with a 3-2-1 record. While they’ve already lost two out of six total games, they’ve front loaded their schedule with many ranked teams.
The Jays 2-2 tie to now No. 11 North Carolina and 1-0 loss to now No. 1 Wake Forest in back-to-back games on the road are respectable results and may earn the team more consideration come postseason time, depending on how the season pans out.
Three teams from the Big East are currently ranked in the United Soccer Coaches poll; Georgetown at No. 3, St. John’s at No. 9 and Xavier at No. 19. The Jays difficult schedule early on could help them in the Big East games in the coming months, where good results in a loaded conference may be enough to push them into the tournament if they don’t win the conference postseason tournament.
The Bluejays consistently have the talent to field a good team and make noise not only against conference foes, but against all the nation’s best. Hopefully, this year, the results are strong enough to earn them a spot to compete for the College Cup when all is said and done.