The Creighton men’s soccer team will enter the 2016 season ranked seventh in the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Preseason Top 25 as released on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Elmar Bolowich, in his sixth season as the head man of Creighton, will look to guide the program to its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 24 seasons. The Bluejays return five starters from a last season’s team that advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the second consecutive season before falling in double overtime to Akron.
Creighton led Division I with 19 wins and ranked third in the country in scoring offense during the 2015 season, but returns less than 50 percent of its goal-scoring for 2016. The Bluejays lost three NSCAA All-America selections, including MAC Hermann Trophy runner-up Fabian Herbers.
Senior Ricardo Perez returns as the leading goal-scorer with six a season ago, while only two other returning Bluejays had four or more last year. Creighton welcomes 12 newcomers to Omaha in an attempt to repeat their elite status. Senior transfers Alex Kapp (Boston College) and Riggs Lennon (Virginia) lead the group. Kapp is a likely candidate to replace 2015 BIG EAST Co-Goalkeeper of the Year Connor Sparrow, while Lennon will contribute to the Creighton offense.
Creighton is one of two BIG EAST schools in the NSCAA preseason poll. Defending BIG EAST regular-season and tournament champion Georgetown sits at No. 10.
Three other 2016 opponents, including 2015 national runner-up Clemson, made the preseason poll. The Tigers (Sept. 2) are No. 3, while Denver (Sept. 21) comes in at No. 20 and Rutgers (Aug. 26) is No. 25. Tulsa (Oct. 11) also received votes.
The Bluejays begin the new campaign with the annual Blue-White Scrimmage on Aug. 13 and will open the regular season on the road at No. 25 Rutgers on Aug. 26.