Rydstrand and Timmer battle for possession

Senior Midfield Joel Rydstrand contests Butler’s Jared Timmer for possession on Saturday night at Morrison Stadium. Rydstrand assisted on the Jays third and final goal of the night.

Last Saturday night, senior forward Sven Koenig scored a pair of second half goals as the No. 25 Creighton men’s soccer team opened Big East play with a 3-0 victory over defending regular-season conference champion Butler in front of a Homecoming crowd of 4,711 at Morrison Stadium. 

The Bluejays improved to 4-1-1 and 1-0-0 in Big East play, while the visiting Bulldogs slipped to 1-4-1 on the season and 0-1-0 in conference play with the result of the game.

Koenig scored the second and third goals of the match. The first of which came from a tap in off a deflected shot in the 51st minute. Koening’s second and Creighton’s third goal of the match came in the 74th minute, just moments after Butler was reduced to 10-men following a red card. 

Freshman goalkeeper Paul Kruse recorded his fourth shutout of the season with two saves against the Bulldogs. 

The Bluejays have not yet allowed a goal while playing at home this season. This four match shutout streak at Morrison Stadium is the longest such streak since the 2014 season when the Jays also recorded four consecutive shutouts at home. 

Creighton finally opened the scoring after missing several clear-cut opportunities in the first half, with a goal in the 48th minute from junior midfielder Zayid Fares. Junior midfielder Luke Haakenson played a lifted pass from just inside of the Creighton attacking half towards the top of the box. Fares controlled the ball towards the right post, caught the goalkeeper off his line and tapped the ball into the back of the net. 

Fares was quick to give credit to Haakenson for the long pass that set up his goal.

“It was a really good ball. We had been practicing running in behind the defensive line and that ball was a dime. He couldn’t have played me a better ball. All I had to do was put it into the back of the net.” 

Less than three minutes after their first goal, Creighton was able to double their lead. Fares found himself on the right side of the box and attempted to either shoot or cross the ball, but it deflected off of a Butler defender and fell right in front of Sven Koenig who tapped the loose ball home from close range in the 51st minute. 

The Jays added their third goal of the match less than two minutes after Butler was reduced to 10-men following a red card. Senior midfielder Joel Rydstrand sent a long pass from inside Creighton’s defensive half that was tracked down and put into the back of the net by Koenig. 

After the match, Koenig noted the difference between the ease with which he scored his first and second goal. 

“We dominated Butler for the whole match. My first goal was part of a great team effort that showed just how good we can play,” Koenig said. “After they went down a man, the game became much more open. They were down by two goals and had to chase the match. It made it much easier for me to get on the end of a great pass and score a goal.” 

The Bluejays dominated the match offensively, outshooting the Bulldogs 16-5. Koenig led the Jays with six shots, including four on target. Haakenson also added five shots with four on target. 

Bluejay’s head coach Elmar Bolowich noted that his team’s strong offensive performance was the difference in the match versus Butler. 

“We played well, but could have easily had more goals. In the first half we had a couple of open looks against the keeper and were unable to finish,” said Bolowich. “The momentum completely changed in the second half with our two early goals. I think that was the difference for us.” 

The Bluejays return to action next Saturday at 3 p.m. as they take on No. 13 Villanova away from home in Big East play.

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