The Creighton men’s soccer team brings a #9 ranking to Ohio tonight, where they’ll square off against #1 Akron. We spoke with Jamie Clark about Creighton’s preparation for tonight’s matchup, and what he expects to see from the Zips.
But first, check out highlights of both teams!
White & Blue Review: Well, it is time to talk about the matchup with Akron. They are the #1 team in the nation and have been for a while. Could you talk a bit about the Zips?
Jamie Clark: Well, they have played the #2, #3, and #4 teams in the nation this season, and have beaten them a combined 9-0. With that said, these are the types of games we want to play. In the Valley, we play every game with a target on our back. With them being #1, they will be the ones with the target.
WBR: How is the team mentality coming into this game?
JC: We made it a point to worry about this game when it came up. With the focus now on Akron, the guys are very excited. They were actually a bit upset with me on Monday because I cut practice a bit short. They wanted to keep practicing, they are pumped up. My thinking was that I want the guys sharp and fresh.
WBR: There is obviously a lot of talk around campus and Omaha about the game, how do you keep the guys grounded and focused?
JC: Well, you want to try and focus on the game like it is any other, but at the same time you know it is a big one. You don’t want to dumb it down, but at the same time, you don’t want the guys to play out of their norm and not take the pop out of them. We need to remember that we will be judged over twenty games, and not just one.
WBR: When we talked in the beginning of the season, you were at the point where you wanted to find the team’s style of play. As the year has gone on, you have said that once you determine that style of play, you would then have the ability to adjust to your opponents. With Akron’s style of play, will there be any specific adjustments made coming into this game?
JC: Akron plays a very aggressive offensive style of play where they attack with 9 guys. They keep the ball extremely well, and keep the pressure on. With that in mind, there should be some opportunities to counter and they could be vulnerable. We will be using this game as a measuring stick for our progress. We will not be making any huge changes, as we want to see how we stack up against one of the top teams in the nation. We want to play our style and let the guys express themselves. We need to say that we went into that game, played our game, and this is how we did. Then, if we see them in the tournament, we will know what we need to change if anything.