OMAHA, Neb. – The Cal Poly men's soccer program held sixth-ranked Creighton without a shot on target for the opening 35 minutes of Sunday's matchup, but the Bluejays – a 2012 College Cup semifinalist – eventually scored three times without reply at Morrison Stadium to slide past the Mustangs, 3-0.
Playing its first top-10 opponent since a 1-0 victory at No. 7 UC Irvine on Sept. 28, 2011, Cal Poly (1-1-0) received just two total shots on goal from freshman forward John Chronopoulos and senior forward Mackenzie Pridham (right). Cal Poly, outshot on the night just 10-7, saw sophomore goalkeeper Wade Hamilton record two saves.
The Mustangs fired the opening attack in the ninth minute, with Chronopoulos – who scored his first collegiate goal in Cal Poly's 4-2 triumph at Drake Friday – forcing Creighton junior goalkeeper Alex Bolowich into a save. Cal Poly, however, received just three more attempts the remainder of the half and none on frame.
Creighton (2-0-0), meanwhile, connected with its first attempt on goal as senior forward Sean Kim played a pass from the right side of the penalty area to freshman midfielder Ricardo Perez, who slotted past Hamilton to provide the Bluejays a 1-0 lead.
Hamilton recorded a 42nd-minute save before Creighton doubled its advantage on 57 minutes as freshman midfielder Fabian Herbers redirected a header from junior midfielder Eric Miller.
Pridham – one of 34 players named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List for most outstanding player in Division I – tested Creighton reserve goalkeeper Connor Sparrow in the 59th, but the Bluejays needed just 11 more minutes to put the match away. In the 70th, Herbers and junior midfielder Jose Ribas combined to play in sophomore midfielder Timo Pitter, who slid his second goal of the year past Hamilton to cement the 3-0 scoreline.
"The experience of playing a top-10 opponent on the road is a valuable one for us. Creighton had a few good chances and finished all of them," eighth-year Mustang head coach Paul Holocher said. "We didn't create as many chances as we would have liked, even though we had moments where we controlled the game – especially in the first half. The game became more open in the second half and credit to Creighton for quality and toughness. We'll learn from this."
Cal Poly wraps a three-match road trip when visiting No. 9 UCLA on Thursday, Sept. 5. Match time is set for 7 p.m. from Drake Stadium.