It took only 20 minutes Friday for Creighton to shed its opening-night jitters and adjust to playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Once the nervous energy disappeared, new Bluejays soccer coach Jamie Clark said he was happy with the way things worked out in Creighton's 2-1 exhibition victory over Hastings College.
“You put a real crowd and atmosphere in front of them and that changes the demeanor of players,” Clark said. “After 20 minutes we started playing really well. We needed a real match atmosphere, and that's what we got.”
The Morrison Stadium crowd of 2,982 — which included a large number of students who stuck around after the match to watch a movie — had plenty to cheer for once the Bluejays got into their rhythm.
It took more than 30 minutes for the first goal to be scored. The Jays broke through with a header by senior defender Kyle Deremer at 32:41 off a free kick from midfielder Jose Gomez.
Gomez also had the second goal less than 10 minutes later. The sophomore from Santa Ana, Calif., teamed with Sergio Castillo to get the ball to Ethan Finlay at 40:45.
Finlay, a junior forward from Marshfield, Wis., knocked the ball past Broncos goalkeeper Cody Poteat's hands with a shot from the top of the 18-yard box.
Hastings avoided the shutout with a goal at 82:15 by junior midfielder Nate Polak of Lincoln. The shot from 18 yards out was set up by an assist from sophomore forward Jordan Green.
Clark said his team tried to slow things down in the second half but gave Hastings credit for pushing the pace for the entire 90-minute match. Broncos coach Chris Kranjc said he wanted his squad to approach this practice match like a regular-season game.
“We didn't want to sit back and allow them to bring the game to us,” Kranjc said. “We wanted to see if we could run at them a little bit, and if we got exposed, we knew what we had to work on. Our attitude and effort over the whole 90 minutes were outstanding.”
Clark and his staff worked 18 players into the match while still being able to rest starters Greg Jordan and Dion Acoff and limit how much time Jace Peters had to play. Clark said the extra time off should help them be ready for the regular-season opener Wednesday at Loyola Chicago.
“We have a very thin squad health-wise right now but we should be at full strength for our opener,” Clark said. “Getting those guys some rest tonight really helped.”
At Creighton..................2 0—2
Goals: 1, CU, Kyle Deremer (Jose Gomez), 32:41. 2, CU, Ethan Finley (Sergio Castillo, Gomez), 40:45. 3, H, Nate Polak (Jordan Green), 82:15. A: 2,982.
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