Golden Eagles fail to upset No. 1 Creighton

Golden Eagles fall to ninth in BIG EAST standings

Photo by Doug Peters/

Jack Goods,

The Golden Eagles couldn’t hang in with the top team in the country, as the No. 1 Creighton Bluejays defeated Marquette 3-1 Saturday night. It was the second straight loss against a top-10 ranked BIG EAST opponent and pushes the Golden Eagles to ninth on the BIG EAST table.

“We had flashes of who we could be,” said Marquette head coach Louis Bennett. “Maintaining that is a difficult thing. They’ve got a lot of weapons and a lot of different ways to do it. They’re an experienced, season, weathered team.”

The undefeated Bluejays went ahead early with a goal from Fabian Herbers, a top candidate to win the MAC Hermann Trophy for best player in the NCAA. Creighton was surgical in its approach, eventually finding the BIG EAST’s top goal scorer alone at the top of the box. Joel Rydstrand doubled the deficit in the 32nd minute, hitting a strike from outside the box that appeared to deflect slightly. Noah Franke added the insurance goal in the 82nd minute, a bad angle shot that just managed to find the top corner.

“They’re just really dynamic,” said redshirt junior defender John Pothast. “Everyone moves off the ball… They’re quick with the ball and you have to be quick thinking on defense.”

Redshirt senior Kelmend Islami scored the lone Golden Eagles’ goal in the 51st minute off a Louis Bennett II free kick. The ball eventually found him off a rebound at the center of the box. The goal was his fifth of the season.

The Golden Eagles were outshot 18 to six, and only had two corner kick opportunities. Against Georgetown the team had only one.

“Getting on the outside and getting deep is difficult because people don’t want us to do that,” Bennett said. “I think the previous game that was a tactical decision by me… (Creighton) negated a lot of what we were trying to do.”

Freshman Wicho Barraza made four saves in the loss.

Marquette will be back in action next Sunday against Xavier, who is receiving votes in this week’s poll. The Golden Eagles have four games left on their schedule to move up to at least sixth in the BIG EAST standings and make the conference tournament, but Bennett says he is not worried they are running out of opportunities.

“Our job is not to worry,” Bennett said. “It’s to make sure we are prepared for each game. We’ve got four games left. We could get at least 12 points… This (game) was going to be a tough task either way.”