Landing the No. 1 ranking in the coaches’ poll in mid-September hardly had Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich brimming with excitement.
Tuesday’s news that the Bluejays owned the No. 1 spot in the first NCAA RPI rankings had the veteran coach only slightly more jazzed.
“I knew, with our schedule, that even with a loss and a couple of ties that we had a chance to be ranked high,” Bolowich said. “But at this point, the RPI is really incorrect. It will become more and more accurate the deeper we get into the season.
“Now, if we can continue on this route, we will have a chance to be in the top 10 in the RPI at the end of the seasons. But a few bad losses can turn the tables in a hurry.”
The Bluejays are coming off a week in which they posted ties against two top 17 RPI-ranked team — Michigan State and new Big East opponent Georgetown. The two matches extended Creighton’s string of double-overtime games to five straight and left them 5-1-2.
They’ll risk that record and a No. 4 ranking in the coaches’ poll Wednesday night when they play at No. 22 St. Louis. The Billikens, the preseason pick to win the Atlantic-10 Conference, will bring a 5-2 record into the 7 p.m. match at Hermann Stadium.
Creighton will be without No. 1 goalkeeper Alex Bolowich for the second straight match as he has been bothered by tendinitis in his Achilles tendon.
“Rest is about the only thing that can help an injury like that,” coach Bolowich said. “They told us not to play him for at least a week.”
With Bolowich sidelined, sophomore Connor Sparrow stepped in against Georgetown and posted his first shutout as a Bluejay. The transfer from Missouri-Kansas City saved two shots and has not allowed a goal in his 155 minutes. He took over in the second half of a Sept. 1 win over Cal Poly after Bolowich suffered an ankle injury.
“There’s no question Connor is a quality keeper,” coach Bolowich said. “We knew that when we recruited him. There’s no question he can hold his own when he’s in there.”
After giving up two goals in the match against Michigan State, Bolowich said he was pleased with how Creighton’s defense played against Georgetown in a meeting of the teams that were picked 1-2 in the conference’s preseason poll.
“I thought defensively we did a good job, and Georgetown had a hard time against us in the first half,” he said. “We got a little fatigued in the second half, but we held pretty strong throughout the match.”