Creighton Men’s Soccer Downs Quakers 3-0 on Socctoberfest Night
The No. 14 Creighton men’s soccer team took care of business against the Pennsylvania Quakers Friday evening at Morrison Stadium before an announced crowed of 2,888 at the 5th annual Socctoberfest event. Perhaps it was the weather delay, but it took the Bluejays awhile to get going. Once they did though, the rout was on. The Penn goal was peppered in the second half, forcing the Quakers to be on the defense for much of the evening.
The Bluejays saw two goals from midfielder Joel Rydstrand in the second half as well as an opener from defender Peter Prescott. It was Creighton’s second win of the season, and it was exactly what the doctor ordered after a stretch of games that left the Jays feeling uneasy.
Socctoberfest included a double-header, where the women’s soccer team took on the University of South Dakota prior to the men’s game. The Bluejays won that one 2-1. The women’s game didn’t begin until 6:15 p.m. due to lightning, forcing the men’s team to begin warmups close to 8:30 p.m.
The first 20 minutes of the game against Penn was quite a dull affair, with neither team registering a shot until Penn forced Creighton goalie Alex Kapp to make an easy save around the 21st minute. Creighton was marred by heavy touches, missed passes and an all-around lack of creativity. That is until the Jays earned a corner kick in the 31st minute.
Creighton’s cross into the box on the corner came out to Prescott, whose rifled shot towards goal took a deflection and looped over the Penn’s goalie’s outstretched left arm. It was the defender’s first goal of the season and it was also Creighton’s first registered shot of the evening. The Bluejays did not look back from there. Added substitutions included Riggs Lennon and Evan Waldrep, who both made an immediate impact. The Jays had Penn’s backline ringing alarm bells with a shot that rose just a yard above the crossbar shortly after the opening goal. From there, Penn saw very little of the ball the rest of the first half. However, a Creighton defender did make a lovely tackle in the box on a streaking Penn forward, forcing the ball out for a throw in.
The Quakers began the second half hot, earning two free kicks. Both set pieces were in dangerous spots. However, Penn was unable to capitalize on their brief momentum, sailing a cross over Kapp’s head and another too short for a CU clearance. Penn’s good play was short lived. The Jays pushed forward, and a nice pass from Noah Franke in the half-circle towards Rydstrand saw the midfielder take one touch and fire a shot from the right side of the box past Penn’s Etan Mabourakh, making it 2-0 in favor of the Bluejays.
Shortly after announcements of the second goal were made, Rydstrand made it 3-0. The Swede gathered the ball in the middle of the box and placed the ball neatly in the left corner of the goal, lifting pressure off the shoulders of the Bluejays for the remainder of the game. The Bluejays’ third goal came during a stretch in which they were relentless on offense, continually applying pressure to the weakened Penn defense. It was a far cry from the first 20 minutes.
Chances for the Bluejays continued to come. Lucas Stauffer saw his second half effort clang off the bottom of the left post after it snuck through a pair of Quaker defenders. The Penn goal was living a charmed life.
The Quakers did create a brief chance midway through the second half. The Penn attack got behind the CU backline, with the ensuing cross resulting in desperate shouts from the Quakers for a handball against Creighton. Referee Victor Herrera was having none of it. Penn nearly got their first goal during a two vs. two, but the Penn forward fired well over Kapp’s head. The liveliness from Penn continued, as a Quaker free kick forced Kapp to make his toughest save of the evening, diving full-stretch to meet the ball with his left palm, forcing a wasteful Penn corner.
With under 20 minutes left in the game, coach Elmar Bolowich made wholesale changes to the Creighton lineup, giving players like Rydstrand and Ricky Lopez-Espin a rest. The subs didn’t slow down the Bluejays though as they hit the post once more and nearly made it 4-0 during a one vs. one.
As the final whistle blew, Creighton could have easily had two more goals. But they’ll take the 3-0 win, perhaps the best performance of the young season. While the Bluejays did register a total of 12 shots, including three goals, the most impressive part of the evening may have been their defense. Defenders Akeem Ward, Julius Fohr, Mitch LaGro and Prescott covered Penn passes all night long. Kapp was very confident in goal and even made the spectacular save on the second half Quaker free kick from just outside the box. However, Penn isn’t exactly known as a goal scoring team. Last season, they only tallied 12 total goals. While they entered tonight’s game undefeated, they also entered it winless with two draws.
The competition level doesn’t change much in Creighton’s next game against the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos. That game kicks off Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at beautiful Morrison Stadium.
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