Creighton has been selected to finish third in the Missouri Valley Conference this year, as the 2010 preseason coaches poll was released by the league office Tuesday. The Bluejays, who tied for third in Valley play last year, earned 49 points in the preseason poll this year. Sophomore Dion Acoff, senior Kyle Deremer and junior Ethan Finlay were each voted to the preseason all-conference team.
Evansville, 12-8-1 in 2009, has been picked to win the league, earning six of the eight first-place votes for a total of 60 points. The Purple Aces also put three players on the preseason team, equalling the Bluejays for the most on the squad. Defending regular-season champion Missouri State, 12-5-2 last year, grabbed the other two first-place nods and edged Creighton for second place with 52 points.
After Creighton’s third-place slot is defending MVC Tournament champion Drake, which advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2009. The Bulldogs, 16-7-2 last year, received enough votes to tally 41 points for a projected fourth place finish.
Bradley (28) is tabbed for a fifth place finish, followed by one of two MVC newcomers in 2010, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (24). SIUE has a rich soccer history, and enters the MVC as the only team in the league with a winning record all-time against the Bluejays at 4-3-0. The Jays have won the last three meetings with the Cougars however, and the teams have not met since 1994.
Eastern Illinois (20) and newcomer Central Arkansas (14) wrap up the preseason projections from league coaches.
Acoff, the 2009 MVC Freshman of the Year, ranked second on the team in assists during his rookie campaign. Deremer, an Omaha Millard North product, will be in his third season as a starter on Creighton’s back line this year. He was tabbed second-team all-MVC last year.
Finlay, a first-team all-region and all-conference honoree as a sophomore last year, begins the 2010 campaign on the preseason MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. The junior forward led the Bluejays with eight goals and 19 points last year, while he topped the MVC in game-winning goals for the second straight season.
This marks just the second time in the 20-year history of the MVC men’s soccer preseason poll that the Bluejays have been selected to finish outside of the top-two. In 1991, the first season of MVC soccer, the Bluejays were also picked third in the preseason poll. The Jays were picked atop the league preseason poll in each of the previous five seasons and have been picked to win the league 12 times, including every year between 1993-99.
After playing a double round-robin schedule in MVC play last year, the Jays will meet each Valley foe just once this year. The State Farm MVC Tournament will again feature six teams, with the top two finishers earning a bye into the semifinal round.
Creighton posted an overall record of 7-4-5 last year and went 4-2-4 in league play. The Bluejays start their 2010 season, the first under head coach Jamie Clark, with an exhibition match at Denver on Saturday. The Jays’ first home match is an exhibition against Hastings College on Friday, Aug. 27, before opening the regular-season at Loyola Chicago on Sept. 1.
Story courtesy of Creighton athletics.