Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Creighton Soccer, College Cup, and a Few Good Reasons to Watch

December in college soccer is baseball’s October.  Creighton men’s soccer has played into December several times since the program restarted in 1990.  However, before last weekend, only once had the team hosted a game in December.  In that sweet sixteen game in 2007, the Bluejay’s season ended after a goal was nullified because Chris Shuler is too tall, his stride too stunning, and his headers too immaculate.

Last weekend, the Bluejays welcomed South Florida to Morrison Stadium for an elite eight game.  After Creighton’s home city became Snowmaha, and the field was incapacitated by several inches of snow (in Minnesota we call this a Paul Bunyan dandruff dusting), the game was postponed to Sunday.  Unfortunately for the Bulls, their south Florida warmth wasn’t enough postpone elimination when MAC Hermann (for football people, read: Heisman) candidate Ethan Finley’s scored the winning goal in OT winning goal.  

So, they Jays are on to the Final Four for the fourth time.  Why should you care?

Well, college football is on its annual month-long “we worked really hard and need to rest up before the Federal Reserve Gave Us a Bailout to Keep Operating Bowl” break.  Oh, another reason.  How about some of the best soccer that you have ever seen.

The Creighton Bluejays have consistently produced professional-caliber soccer players.  In fact, Creighton is the only school to have at least one player drafted every year since the MLS’s inception in 1996.

This year is no different.  Top draft prospect Ethan “my hair looks pretty, but I will out work you and score” Finley along with Greg “baby-faced, but I will out head you” Jordan and Brian “I may be the shortest D1 goal keeper, but I have ninja-like skills and the D1 record for shutouts” Holt provide a core to a team that has the country’s top RPI and have only allowed 5 goals (including the postseason) but scored 42.

So if the stats don’t persuade you to tune into their match against Charlotte on Friday evening (6, 5 central, ESPNU/3), maybe this will.  I was watching a stream of a game that Creighton dominated almost throughout.  At the final whistle (well, it’s a horn in college soccer), goalkeeper Holt (who is also a finalist for the Hermann Trophy and a first team academic All-American) ran over to the ball boy that had been chasing down the other team’s errant shots all night and gave him a fist bump and (using my FBI-caliber lip reading skills) said “thank you, buddy.”

Ok, so fist bumping may not be in any definition of character or class.  But, having seen how Holt’s fellow goalies treat ball boys (typically lots of screaming, pointing, and foot stomping) this is pretty impressive.  Even if you don’t think that this justifies a classy person, well a home repair store says otherwise.  It may also help that, in addition to some spectacular goalkeeping, Holt’s processor was remembered (or, more accurately, enshrined) for running out of his net to mid field and full-on pushing an opponent over (at about 45 seconds).

Alright, so still not persuaded?  Well, Minnesotans have played a surprisingly prominent roll on the Bluejays’ rosters over the last few years.  Gotsmanov, Kallman (x2), Miller, and Senske are a few recent names that have left the “cold Omaha with sports teams”* to play soccer in the real Omaha.

*Sid Hartman is known for saying that without professional sports, the Twin Cities would just be a “Cold Omaha.”  Well, there a few things wrong with this.  First, having lived in Omaha, when factoring in the wind, its cold there too.  Second, this was originally said by Hubert Humphrey in trying to get a stadium built.  Third, with Creighton soccer, Bluejay basketball, and Husker football - not to mention the College World Series - the sports scene is looking a lot better in Omaha than it is in the Twin Cities.

Strong representation from the Promised Land on Creighton’s squad should provide enough reason to watch the Bluejays play this weekend.  But if it doesn’t, here’s something that will.  CU’s coach’s vacations.

Elmar Bolowich is like the...ummm....well there are no real Minnesotan analogies.  He coached at perennial powerhouse North Carolina for 22 years winning one championship and leading his team to numerous trips to the post season.  Then, after three straight trips to the final four, he decided last year to leave UNC and take the helm at Creighton.  His record and national reputation however, do not provide the complete picture.  His vacations, sorry, “vacations,” are trips to Alaska where he and a buddy are flown to northern Alaska -“above the arctic circle”, dropped off with no phones or technology, and spend the next two weeks hiking, hunting, and hacking through the wilderness until they return to civilization. 


If that’s not intense, and a reason to watch some college soccer on Friday, I don’t know what is.

You are still welcome to hop on the bandwagon of the Creighton crazy train.

1 comment:

  1. I can't help but edit the MLS combine list, what about Andrew "I've been redshirted so many times I resemble a lobster" Duran, the stalwart central defender?


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