Kelsey O’Donnell admits the Creighton women’s 3-13-3 performance last year dented the Bluejays’ pride.
Being picked to finish ninth out of 10 teams in the Big East preseason soccer poll didn’t help, either.
“We didn’t want to have a repeat of last year,” O’Donnell said. “We wanted to prove everybody wrong.”
It didn’t look as though much had changed this season after a 0-2 start. But after those losses to Utah State and Boise State, the Bluejays told each other: “This is not going to happen again.”
They’ve since reeled off six straight wins heading into Friday’s 7 p.m. game with the University of Nebraska at Omaha at Morrison Stadium.
O’Donnell, a senior from El Dorado Hills, Calif., said she’s always had confidence in her team.
“We just started off on the wrong foot,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to be this great, but I didn’t doubt my team at all.”
Chemistry is strong, last year’s young players have another season of experience, distribution of the ball has been better and things are clicking, O’Donnell said.
The Jays have also gotten strong play from freshman goalkeeper Danielle Rice, who has a 0.53 goals against average during the six-game streak.
“She’s been so crucial,” O’Donnell said. “She’s communicating well and keeps us organized back there. She’s pretty confident.”
O’Donnell has done her part, too. The center defender has scored twice and has one assist for the Jays, and says everyone at her position has the same potential. She was named the Big East defensive player of the week on Sept. 2 and was on the league honor roll on Sept. 9.
“It’s so fun,” she said. “Anything to help out the team.”
O’Donnell will be ready to step up Friday against UNO, which she said is always a tough opponent.
The Mavs, who also play Missouri State at noon Sunday, are 2-4-1 after a draw with Montana last week.
Senior forward Melanie McCormick, who is playing forward for the first time in her career, leads the Mavericks with four goals and nine points. Others contributing on offense are Chelsi Rohloff, with one goal and a team-best two assists, and Monica Bosiljevac with one goal and one assist.
Meaghan Clark has played every minute in net and has made 35 saves with a 2.08 goals against average and .700 save percentage.
The Bluejays won’t be looking past UNO, but O’Donnell said a victory would give them some confidence heading into their first Big East game Thursday at home against Marquette.
“I think it’s crucial going into this game that we come out with a win, especially since this is the last game going into conference,” O’Donnell said. “Going in 7-2 instead of 6-3 would be a lot better.”