In front of a single-match record crowd of 6,848, the No. 2 Creighton men’s soccer team suffered a tough loss to No. 14 Old Dominion, 2-1, in the opening round of the Creighton Invitational on Friday, Sept. 14.
The loss dropped the Jays to 4-1-1 on the season, while Old Dominion moved to 5-0-0.
Senior Jose Gomez got the Jays out to an early 1-0 lead, as he struck for his second goal of the season in just the second minute of the match. Gomez took a pass straight up field from sophomore Jose Ribas at the top of the box, striking the ball from 18 yards away past Monarch keeper Victor Francoz to make it a 1-0 game.
Elevated by the early lead, Creighton continued to control possession throughout the opening 15 minutes of play. Unfortunately the Bluejays were unable to capitalize any further in the early stages of the match, allowing momentum to shift to Old Dominion.
Moving into the middle of the opening period the Monarchs increased their offensive pressure. The result was the tying goal in the 26th minute. Tim Hopkinson delivered his sixth goal of the season off a cross from Yannick Smith to knot the match at 1-1.
The score remained knotted at 1-1 into the half, Creighton held an 8-7 edge in shots in the opening period, while the Monarchs created more corner kicks, 2-1.
The second half proved to be what you’d expect from a battle between two teams ranked in the top-15. The brutal struggle broke in Old Dominion’s favor in the 71st minute. Hopkinson and Chris Harmon broke free towards Creighton keeper Alex Bolowich two steps in front the any Bluejay defenders. Hopkinson fired a shot that Bolowich was able to deflect. Unfortunately Harmon gathered the ball and fired an attempt of his own, this time Creighton senior Andrew Ribeiro made a team save. The deflection caromed right to Hopkinson, who fired the third shot of the series into the back of the net.
It was Hopkinson’s seventh goal of 2012, while Harmon picked up the assist.
Hoping to give its record crowd more to cheer about, the Jays refocused their energy an attacked throughout the remaining 19:23. Creighton’s best scoring chance came with five minutes remaining, but a team save by Old Dominion prevented a tying goal.
In the match the Jays finished with a 20-18 shot advantage and a six to three edge in corners.
Bolowich closed the match with a career-high nine saves, while Francoz recorded eight saves.
Earlier in the evening, William & Mary defeated Drake by a 4-1 score in the opening match of the Creighton Invitational. Drake will face Old Dominion on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 11:30 a.m. in Morrison Stadium.
Creighton also returns to the pitch on Sunday, Sept. 16 as the Jays face William & Mary at 2:30.