HOOVER, Ala. — Leading up to this year's College Cup, Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich said he still felt disappointed that the Bluejays weren't able to score a single goal at the 2011 final four.
Now it's been two straight years that Creighton has come up empty in the national semifinals, and Bolowich said Indiana's suffocating defense deserves all the credit.
The Bluejays' remarkable 2012 season came to an end Friday night with a 1-0 College Cup semifinal loss against the Hoosiers. Creighton outshot Indiana 10-9, but Bolowich's team didn't really start to stress Hoosiers goalkeeper Luis Soffner until late in the game.
“We really frustrated them, and that's the greatest compliment we can have,” said Indiana coach Todd Yeagley. “We kept Creighton out of their comfort zone, pressured them, and took away what they like to do. It was a complete team effort, and that's a sign of a championship-caliber performance.”
Soffner's only two saves of the games were clutch efforts in the final minutes. He was especially impressive with a diving stop on a blast from Creighton's Brendan Hines-Ike.
“They started to bring pressure at the end of the game, and I really didn't have to do much save-wise,” Soffner said. “All credit goes to my teammates. They played hard the first 85 minutes, and when I had to help our team out, that's why I'm back there.”
Said Creighton standout senior Jose Gomez: “It was hard for us to move because they pressured us so much. It's something we dealt with all year, but we couldn't today. It was disappointing, but that's how soccer is. They were the better team today.”
Indiana star silent in Hoosiers' win
While Creighton wasn't happy about its overall performance Friday against Indiana, the Bluejays at least deserve credit for bottling up the Hoosiers' most potent scorer.
Star forward Eriq Zavaleta, who ranks third in the NCAA with 18 goals, wasn't credited with a single shot on Friday.
It marked only the fifth game in 2012 that Zavaleta hadn't scored at least one goal. He has seven game-winners this year, and he recorded the deciding score in both of Indiana's NCAA wins leading up to the College Cup.
Ribeiro, Gomez are All-Americans
Creighton seniors Andrew Ribeiro and Gomez on Friday earned first-team All-America honors, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced prior to the start of the College Cup.
It marks the second straight season, and third time in program history, that two Bluejays earned spots on the first-team honor roll.
Ribeiro, a midfielder-forward out of Green Bay, Wis., was the Missouri Valley defensive player of the year.
Gomez, a midfielder from Santa Ana, Calif., was the Missouri Valley player of the year as well as the Valley tournament MVP. On Thursday, Gomez was announced as one of the final three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer's top individual award. He also was named the TopDrawerSoccer.com player of the year for upperclassmen.
Attendance sparse in semifinal matches
For Friday's semifinal matches, the all-session attendance figure was listed at 11,074, which was not an accurate reflection of the number of people watching either game.
The 13,000-capacity soccer configuration at Regions Park was likely never even half full. So if there were 11,000 people in attendance Friday, many came dressed in very convincing empty-seat costumes.
— Chad Purcell