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Creighton Women’s Soccer Finishes Level With UMKC, 2-2

Creighton Women’s Soccer Finishes Level With UMKC, 2-2

The Creighton women’s soccer team entered Friday night’s game against the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos without a win in the regular season, having just lost an overtime game to South Dakota State earlier in the week. However, the Bluejays scored their first two goals of the season in the game against SDSU, so they were carrying mild offensive momentum heading into the annual Socctoberfest.

The game did not get off to a good start for Creighton, conceding a careless opening goal to UMKC senior Kara Priest in the third minute. It was all too familiar for the Jays to fall behind first. The Bluejays spent the next 20 minutes building pressure, earning their first corner-kick around the 20th minute. Creighton found their breakthrough in the 25th minute when junior forward Kaira Houser took on UMKC defenders from the left-hand side of the box and finished past the ‘roos goalie Erin Roth, leveling the game at a goal a piece.

As Morrison Stadium was filling up with spectators on Socctoberfest night, Creighton took the lead when sophomore midfielder Taryn Jakubowski sent a lovely shot from the top of the box over the head of Roth. For a team that had only scored two goals coming into the game, scoring two in a few minutes time was a pleasant surprise.

With the Bluejays leading 2-1, Creighton goalie McKenzie Meola was called into action in the 35th minute when UMKC’s Kelsey Mothershead sprinted forward in a breakaway. Mothershead let go of her shot at the top of the box and Meola lunged to her lower right, palming the shot and earning her first save of the game. Meola again impressed when she went full-stretch to punch away a shot to her left, forcing a wasteful UMKC corner-kick.

In the second half, Creighton began much the way the first half ended, pressuring and keeping momentum. With just a few minutes gone, CU’s Houser beat a defender and drew a penalty-kick. She decided to take the shot herself but sent it over UMKC’s goal and into the student section. It was a massive letdown for what should have been a call that sent Creighton into a 3-1 lead.  Instead it stayed a one goal lead.

Meola continued her solid performance in the 57th minute when UMKC’s Priest headed a shot to Meola’s left, where she dove and batted the ball out for an eventual harmless corner. UMKC stayed on the attack, weaving into Creighton’s box with ease where the ‘roos had a shout for a handball after a shot, but head official Abdu Bensalah waved it away. With momentum seized by UMKC, Bensalah gave both sides a water break, a decision impacted by the high temperature of close to 90 degrees entering the game.

The remainder of the second half was an even battle, with Creighton’s Ashleigh Cearlock sending a long-range shot from outside the box off Roth’s near post. UMKC returned the favor just minutes later when the ‘roos hit Meola’s post, creating a scramble that led to UMKC’s Abby Small finishing from just a couple yards out, leveling the game at 2-2. It was a gut punch for the Bluejays considering the missed penalty-kick chance.

For the third straight game, the Bluejays went into overtime after they were unable to convert a corner-kick with less than 30 seconds remaining. In an attempt to reenact her previous goal, Jakubowski launched a deep knuckling shot that UMKC’s Roth had to dive down to her right for, sending it out for a failed CU corner-kick. The shot and subsequent save was the only real action of the first overtime session.

The second overtime session was dominated early by UMKC. The ‘roos sent a close shot wide to the right before a UMKC forward had Creighton fans gasping as a shot looped just wide to the left of Meola’s goal. Creighton did create some havoc with two minutes remaining as the team spent time in the box before an attempt at goal by midfielder Darby Hugunin was ruled offside by the assistant referee. The Bluejays did have one last chance when they earned a free-kick from less than 25 yards out. However, the ensuing shot was blocked and the game ended tied at 2-2.

The draw leaves Creighton searching for their first win still but does take them to 0-5-1. UMKC moves to 2-4-1. There won’t be much rest for the Jays as they travel to Manhattan, Kansas, to take on the Kansas State Wildcats on Sunday.

Here is head coach Ross Paule’s postgame comments (courtesy of Creighton Athletics)

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