After scoreless streak ends, Creighton men's soccer looks for first clean sheet against Seton Hall

Creighton's Akeem Ward photographed in a game against Tulsa at Morrison Stadium on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD

The victorious postgame celebration on Tuesday wasn’t as joyous as usual for Creighton’s prideful defenders.

They’d surrendered a goal.

For just the third time this year.

The Bluejays’ goals allowed average (.365) is still ranked fifth in the country. Their scoreless streak inside Morrison Stadium was snapped — but they still came within 15 minutes of matching a school record. And they did hold on for a 2-1 win Tuesday against Jacksonville, extending their winning streak to five and improving their record to 6-1-1.

But the defensive standard is high for the Jays, who believe the reason why they’re a top 10 team again is because of their ability to limit their opponents’ scoring chances.

“We don’t want to get scored on,” senior defender Akeem Ward said. “That back five we have, it’s really, really close. We have an understanding that for us to do things and go far, we have to defend first. Defend first and defend hard.”

Any lapse could be exploited.

That’s what happened Tuesday, according to Ward. He lost his man on a free kick and a Jacksonville attacker put the ball in the net, right past goalkeeper Paul Kruse.

“After that game, it hurt a little bit,” Ward said. “We were still looking at it on a positive note with the win. But we probably should have kept that clean sheet.”

It added some extra motivation for the group in training sessions this week. The Jays know improvement will be needed for Saturday’s match against Seton Hall.

The Pirates are the only league team that CU hasn’t shut out since joining the Big East. They’ve scored more goals against the Jays than any other conference opponent — 10 goals in five matches.

So No. 9 Creighton can’t afford any lapses in focus, intensity or communication. That’s been the key all year, according to the team’s leading goal-scorer, Sven Koenig.

“We always start with our defense, and the rest follows from there,” Koenig said.

Creighton will host Seton Hall at 7 p.m. Saturday at Morrison Stadium.

Reporter - Creighton athletics

Jon covers Creighton athletics, the College World Series and more for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @JonNyatawa. Phone: 402-444-6611

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