Creighton rolls Hastings in final preseason tune-up
After managing just two shots over 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss to 19th-ranked Minnesota one week ago, the Creighton women’s soccer team buried the Hastings Broncos in an avalanche of goals and scoring chances throughout a 4-1 rout that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.
The Bluejays got a pair of goals from sophomore forward Hannah Miller in the 3rd and 65th minute sandwiched around scores from third-year forward Emma Braasch in the 17th, and sophomore midfielder Taryn Jakubowski in the 47th, to close out the 2017 preseason on Sunday evening at Morrison Stadium. When the dust settled, Creighton head coach Ross Paule felt his team’s performance, while not perfect, was a step in the right direction ahead of next Friday’s regular season opener at Iowa State.
“I thought there were some great things that came from it, one huge positive being that we got four goals,” the third-year head coach said. “We know that we’re going to have to get goals from lots of different players, so to have three different people score [tonight] is huge. We created a good amount of chances throughout the game and gave away very few.”
The one chance his team did allow came in the 79th minute with the game well in hand. A series of poor clearances allowed Hastings freshman midfielder Courtney Doeschot to line up a shot that she blasted home from 35 yards out to cut the deficit to 4-1. It was the second straight match in which the Bluejays have allowed a mostly uncontested goal from outside the 18-yard box. Not the type of goals that any coach can live with conceding.
“We cannot mentally shut off like that,” Paule said. “It was just another miscommunication, not attacking the ball, not playing with urgency in a dangerous part of the field, and we got caught. That’s something that can’t happen.”
The other major critique from Sunday’s friendly was the final tally of four goals could have very easily been doubled with a sharper approach in the box. The Bluejays had numerous chances on through balls in the box that resulted in 1v1 situations with a Hastings goalkeeper where they came up empty, some which barely resulted in a quality shot and one early in the match in particular that actually resulted in a goal kick.
“We definitely left some [goals] on the field,” Paule said. “I think we need a little bit more urgency around the goal. We need to gamble and make those runs in the box, and expect there to be a loose ball to put away for an easy goal. We got two goals like that in the first half, but that just has to be a habit.”
The positives, however, far outweighed any of those negatives on the day. Particularly the undersized, underclassmen tandem of attackers in 5-foot, 4-inch sophomore Taryn Jakubowski and 5-foot, 3-inch freshman Keelie Fothergill. The duo was dangerous when combining on the right flank in the attacking third of the field. Jakubowski’s goal — barely a minute into the second half — came when she followed up a shot by Fothergill from the right side of the penalty area to give the Bluejays a 3-0 lead.
After the match, Paule was obviously encouraged by the rhythm the two appeared to develop, and plans to have them continue to play off of each other more often as the season rolls along.
“They are both very talented players — very skillful, very creative,” he said. “The longer they play together the better they are going to get. We want to keep them closely connected on the field and I think some good things are going to happen from it.”
At 5’4″, Jakubowski is on the shorter end of the roster when comes to sorting by height, but with Fothergill technically looking up to her — by an inch — it gave the Illinois native a rare opportunity.
“She’s kind of a mini version of me,” Jakubowski teased. “Keelie is such a good technical and tactical player … she knows the game so well and has great touches. It’s really easy to build off of her, because I feel like I know where she is going to be because she plays just like me.”
As the coaching staff continues to mix and match to find ways to make the attack more dynamic in a post-Lauren Sullivan world, the developing chemistry between Jakubowski and Fothergill may make that task a little easier.
With the preseason wrapped up, the Bluejays turn the page to a regular season slate that has them on the road for the first four matches of the season beginning with a trip to Ames to take on Iowa State at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 18th. They’ll follow that up with matches at Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, and South Dakota before their home opener on September 3rd against South Dakota State.
Creighton is 0-5-1 all-time against the Cyclones, including a 3-1 loss at home last fall, but being the underdogs is something that the team will have to embrace throughout the season.
“We’re always up for it,” Jakubowski said. “After being picked eighth in the Big East I think we are coming out here to show people what we’re made of, and I know that we have the talent, the dedication, and the determination to do that.”
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