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Creighton Has Momentum But Must Address Several Major Personnel Losses.

Bluejays Hope The Momentum From A run To The College Cup Last Year Will CArry Over To The 2023 Season

Coach – Johnny Torres – 5th Season
Conference – Big East
2022 Record – 13-5-6 overall, 3-3-4 in conference
2022 National Ranking – Number 9 United Soccer Coaches, Number 3 College Soccer News
Five Year Win Total
2022 – 13
2021 – 9
2020 – 6
2019 – 8
2018 – 8
Key Departures

Paul Kruse – Goalkeeper – Appeared in 74 games with 74 starts over five seasons with a career goals against average of 1.16 and 16 shutouts. A 2022 All-Big East Third Team selection. 2018 All-Big East Second Team and All-Big East Freshman Team selection. Played in 24 games with 24 starts in 2022.

Charles Auguste – Midfielder – Appeared in 24 games with 24 starts in 2022 scoring three goals and contributing two assists. A 2022 All-Big East First Team selection. A 2021 All-Big East Third Team selection. A 2020 All-Big East Second Team selection. Appeared in a total of 63 games with 59 starts over four seasons. Had nine career goals and 11 career assists.

Duncan McGuire – Forward – 2022 MAC Hermann Award Winner. 2022 United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News All-American. 2022 Big East Offensive Player of the Year. Led the nation in goals in 2022 with 23 and points with 50. Selected sixth overall by Orlando in the 2023 MLS Super Draft. Played in a total of 55 games with 32 starts over three seasons. Had 28 career goals and six career assists.

Callum Watson – Midfielder – 2022 and 2021 All-Big East Third Team selection. Appeared in 22 games in 2022 with 22 starts with three goals and six assists. 2020 All-Big East Second Team selection. Appeared in 51 games with 49 starts over three seasons with six career goals and 11 career assists. Played two seasons at Hastings College where he was a 2019 NAIA All-America First Team selection before coming to Creighton.

Owen O’Malley – Defender – 2022 All-Big East First Team selection. Played in 23 games in 2022 with 23 starts scoring eight goals and contributing six assists. Appeared in 52 games over two seasons with 39 starts. A 2022 All-East Region First Team selection. Elected to enter the professional ranks after his sophomore season and was drafted 9th overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft by St. Louis City SC.

Jake Ashford – Defender – Played in 18 games with 12 starts in 2022 with one goal and two assists. Appeared in a total of 47 games with 28 starts over four seasons.

Cameron Briggs – Defender – Played in 43 games with 23 starts over four seasons. Played in 16 games with 12 starts during 2022 season.

Alejandro Maillet – Played in 21 games with five starts in 2022 with three goals and three assists. Appeared in 51 games with 23 starts over three seasons. Played for Kansas City Community College in 2018 and 2019 before transferring to Creighton.
2023 Outlook

Creighton is coming off an amazing post season run during which the sixth seeded Bluejays surprised everyone by winning the Big East Tournament to secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament followed by a magical run to the College Cup that began with a win at home over Missouri State followed by improbable wins on the road over number one seed Washington, Tulsa and Duke.

Sufficient talent returns under head coach Johnny Torres for Creighton to again be competitive but replicating the success they had during post season play last year will be difficult due to the voids that exist due to departures. The opportunity and need clearly exists for returning players to assume greater roles and for some of the newcomers to make an immediate contribution.

Offensively, the departure of MAC Hermann Award Winner and All-American forward Duncan McGuire (23g, 4a) who led the nation last year in goals scored and All-Big East midfielders Charles Auguste (3g, 2a) and Callum Watson (3g, 6a) among others creates a big gap to fill. Defensively, the Blueyjays will miss the services of veteran goalkeeper Paul Kruse, a multi-year All-Big East selection and stalwart who started 74 games over the past five seasons, and All-Big East 2022 First Team back Owen O’Malley (8g, 6a) among others.

The productivity of Creighton’s attack will hinge in large part on the ability of graduate student forward Dominic Briggs (0g, 4a), junior midfielders Jackson Castro (10g, 8a), a 2022 Big East Second Team selection, Giorgio Probo (5g, 14a), a 2022 Big East Third-Team member and Mark O’Neill (4g, 0a), a three-year starter, and graduate student forward Alfie Pope (4g, 1a) to fill the rather large void that exists. Junior transfers Omar Ramadan from DePaul and Lucio Berron from Coastal Carolina are among the newcomers who should vie for playing time in the midfield.

Defensively, the opportunity for improvement exists for a Creighton team that allowed a total of 34 goals last year. The success that the Bluejays had during post season play last year was due in part to improved play on the defensive side of the ball. Solid play on the defensive side of the ball will be an even more critical success factor in 2023 given the fact that the attack which produced a total of 65 goals in 2022 may not be as prolific in 2023.

Senior Luke Mitchell (0g,1a) who has appeared in 41 games with 34 starts over the past four seasons, junior Miguel Ventura (0g, 5a) who has appeared in 40 games with 30 starts and sophomore Ben Foulks who played in 15 games last year are among returning backs who the Bluejays will likely look to for defensive stability. The candidates to fill the all important role in goal are Junior Nathan Schnur who has appeared in 13 contests over the past three years, redshirt sophomore Blake Gillingham, a transfer from Santa Clara, and freshman Pablo Andrade.

Creighton should contend for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth in 2023. The pieces look to be present in 2023 to build around but there are a lot of unanswered questions that could create a learning curve. One thing is for sure though, even with the departures, it would be wise to not count out the Bluejays.

Blake Gillingham – Goalkeeper – San Jose, California – Bellarmine College Prep – A redshirt sophomore transfer from Santa Clara where he appeared in four games in 2022 with three starts with a 1.23 goals against average.

Andrija Savic – Defender – Serbia, Belgrade – Freshman center back. Played for Rad Beograd.

Omar Ramadan – Midfielder – Algonquin, Illinois – Huntley High School – Box-to box midfielder. Box A junior transfer from DePaul where he was a three-year starter with one goal and eight assists. Appeared in a total of 43 games with 41 starts over three seasons.

Lucio Berron – Midfielder – Santa Fe, Argentina – A junior transfer from Coastal Carolina where he appeared in 30 games with 19 starts over two seasons scoring one goal and contributing two assists.

Nick Cenek – Midfielder – Peoria, Illinois – Dunlap High School – Played club for Central Illinois United. Two-time All-State selection at Dunlap High School. Three-time All-Mid Illinois selection. Joined Creighton during the spring. Joined

Feto Granados – Midfielder – Guayaquil, Ecuador – Freshman who enrolled during spring season. Center midfielder.

Ali Ramadan – Midfielder – Algonquin, Illinois – Huntley High School – Freshman. Attacking midfielder.

Miguel Arilla – Midfielder – Spain – Freshman – Attacking midfielder. Played for Torrent

Matthew Reed – Defender – Felton, Delaware, Caesar Rodeny High School – Freshman. Wing back out of FC Delco Academy.

Edward Morales – Midfielder – New Bronsville, Texas – Freshman. Rio Grande Valley All-Valley Team selection. Played for Houston Dynamo.

Pablo Andrade – Goalkeeper – Chula Vista, California – Saint Augustine High School – Freshman

Picture from Creighton Athletics

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Posted in 2023 Team Reviews

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