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Creighton's Ricky Lopez-Espin tears knee ligaments
SOCCER

Creighton's Ricky Lopez-Espin tears knee ligaments

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Creighton took its first steps Wednesday in moving on from the loss of a second starter this season.

Forward Ricky Lopez-Espin suffered a serious knee injury in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory at Drake. The freshman from Miami said he will undergo a MRI on Thursday to determine the extent of the damage before setting a date for surgery.

“It’s unfortunate, but I’m trying to stay positive,” Lopez-Espin said. “I’m going to do everything I can to be ready for our trip to Germany in eight months.”

The Bluejays will take a summer exhibition trip to that country. For now, their focus has to be on finishing this season as strongly as they’ve started it.

The win over Drake left No. 9 Creighton with a 9-1-1 record heading into Saturday’s Big East home game against Butler.

At the Bluejays’ training session Wednesday, coach Elmar Bolowich started making adjustments to compensate for the loss of Lopez-Espin, who is tied for third on the team’s scoring chart with three goals and an assist.

“Ricky added a tremendous piece to our attack that is going to be hard to replace,” Bolowich said.

One player destined for a change of roles is junior Fernando Castellanos. The junior college All-American from Raleigh, North Carolina, has started every game at midfield but will move forward.

“He’s used to that from his club days,” Bolowich said. “He’s played there and he’s played very well. He’s a player that is very capable of holding the ball.”

Bolowich said the Bluejays also hope to get more from senior Sean Kim, although his status is day-to-day. He has had two knee operations over the past two years.

“I think Sean will get more opportunities, but I don’t think he’ll get more time,” Bolowich said. “We always have to monitor his playing time because his knees still swell up.

“Kim also is a totally different player than Lopez-Espin. They’re almost opposites, and it changes the team dynamic a little bit.”

Creighton earlier this season lost a starter in junior defender Brendan Hines-Ike, who left the team after five games. Hines-Ike had started since his freshman season, but the Bluejays have continued to play high-level defense without him.

“I’ve always said we have a deep squad,” Bolowich said. “I think we’re still in good shape. The departure of Hines-Ike and with Ricky being out just makes us a little thinner.”

Contact the writer:

402-679-2298, steve.pivovar@owh.com, twitter.com/PivOWH

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