Nov. 29, 2008

Courtesy of Creighton

OMAHA, Neb. - The second-ranked Creighton men's soccer team topped No. 22 Connecticut 2-1 in overtime Saturday afternoon in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at Morrison Stadium.  The seventh-seeded Bluejays (16-1-2) advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament where they will travel to second-seeded Maryland next Saturday in College Park, Md.  Seth Sinovic headed in the game-winner in the 99th minute off of a free kick from Andrei Gotsmanov to keep the Bluejays' season alive.  The Jays tied the match in the 79th minute when junior Chris Schuler scored his first goal in over two seasons on a header.

Despite a dominating performance by the Bluejays, they needed to come-from-behind to keep their season alive.  The Jays conceded a goal in the 33rd minute when UConn's Tony Cascio snuck behind the Bluejay defense on a lead pass from Akeem Priestly and he put his shot into the net for his second goal of the season and second in as many games.  The shot by Cascio proved to be half of UConn's first-half shots, as CU out-shot the Huskies 11-2 in the first half.

Creighton continued to control play after halftime, blasting 14 shots compared to just four by the Huskies after the half.  The Jays finally broke through the packed-in UConn defense in the 79th minute on a set play.  After a Huskie foul was called about 40 yards from the goal, Gotsmanov took the free kick for the Jays.  He knocked in his service to the far post where freshman Ethan Finlay headed the ball in front of the net and Schuler connected on a header of his own.  For Schuler, the MVC Defensive Player of the Year, it was his first goal since scoring the overtime game-winner at Bradley in the 2006 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship match.

CU continued pressuring the Huskies after scoring the equalizer, but could not find the back of the net in regulation.

The Jays scored on their only shot of overtime.  The play was set up afer UConn's Cruz Hernandez was issued a yellow card.  Gotsmanov, the MVC Player of the Year, took the free kick again, this time on the opposite side of the pitch as his first assist.  The lefty put a perfectly placed low drive into the box, where Sinovic flicked a header past a diving Josh Ford in net for UConn, touching off a celebration on the pitch and in the stands.

The win moves the Bluejays to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 and the fourth time since 2002.  UConn's loss ends the Huskies season with an 11-5-6 record.

Creighton will travel to Maryland (20-3-0) next Saturday with a berth in the College Cup on the line.  Kickoff at Maryland will take place at noon (CST).