Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich hopes the No. 9 Bluejays learned a lesson during Tuesday’s match with Jacksonville, which entered with a 1-7 record.
The CU offense took a long time to get into rhythm but finally found just enough as leading scorer Sven Koenig scored two goals to lift the Jays to a 2-1 nonconference win over the Dolphins in front of a Morrison Stadium crowd of 1,825.
The win was the Jays’ fifth in a row.
It took the Bluejays more than 10 minutes to get a shot off on a leaky Jacksonville defense that had surrendered 26 goals in eight matches.
Bolowich said the match against the Dolphins, who were missing five starters because of injury, was a “wake-up call.”
“You have to get ready for every game. I thought we made it way too hard on ourselves.
“You can never take any team lightly. You have to earn everything because every team can have a good day and can beat you.”
The Jays’ first good scoring opportunity didn’t come until the 28th minute, when Koenig got loose behind the Jacksonville back line.
But Koenig’s attempt was turned away by Dolphin keeper Matt Levy to keep the match scoreless, and it stayed that way through halftime.
Koenig said the Bluejays (6-1-1) weren’t able to connect enough on offense in the first half.
“We started a bit slow. I don’t know. We put in the effort. I had the breakaway chance in the first half, and if I put that one away, I think we would have had this game already in the first half.
“We didn’t move the ball quick enough. We took too many touches. That was all we were talking about (at halftime),” Koenig said.
Creighton stepped up the pressure to begin the second half with Ziyad Fares firing a shot just more than a minute in that was blocked by a Jacksonville defender.
Koenig got behind the Dolphin back line again in the 60th minute, and he made no mistake this time, slipping it past Levy for his fourth goal of the season and a 1-0 Creighton advantage.
Levy misplayed a through ball less than 12 minutes later, and Koenig pounced on the miscue with nothing between him and the goal as he easily made it 2-0.
That goal proved to be key after Jacksonville’s Alex Dixon scored the first goal since Sept. 3 in the 76th minute to pull the Dolphins to within 2-1.
Bolowich said the travel schedule may have contributed to the Bluejays’ erratic play.
The team returned from a trip to Villanova on Sunday, leaving the Jays with only a day to prepare for the Dolphins.
“We played a little bit undisciplined in the final third, and we also played a little bit undisciplined on the defensive end today, and we got punished for it by that goal,” he said.
Steven Saunders had a chance to tie the match for the Dolphins with just more than a minute left with a header off a crossing pass, but his shot went wide.
“Unfortunately, it took us some time,” Koenig said. “But at the end, we got the three points.”
The Bluejays jump back into Big East play Saturday at 7 p.m. when they host Seton Hall.
Jacksonville (1-8-0)..........0 1—1
At Creighton (6-1-1).........0 2—2
Goals: 1, CU, Sven Koenig (Yudai Tashiro) 59:22. 2, CU, Koenig (Kuba Polat) 71:14. 3, JU, Alex Dixon (Jose Manzo, Bryson Pink) 75:05. Shots: JU 5, CU 23. Shots on goal: JU 3, CU 9. Saves: JU, Matt Levy 7. CU, Paul Kruse 2. Fouls: JU, 10. CU, 10. A: 1,825
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No. 25 Ty-Shon Alexander, men's basketball: He could be in store for a breakout season. The Jays are looking for someone to help fill the shoes of Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas. Why not Alexander? Click here to read more.
No. 24 Taryn Jakubowski, women's soccer: She’s usually the hardest-working player on the field, and her evolution as a scorer will be something to watch. The Jays will be relying on her again this season. Click here to read more.
No. 23 Naomi Hickman, volleyball: There’s a vacancy in the middle of Creighton’s alignment, and Hickman would be well suited for the role. Click here to read more.
No. 22 Jacob Epperson, men's basketball: He has quickness, agility and hops. He is still working to add strength. But the ceiling is incredibly high for the Australian. Click here to read the story.
No. 21 Olivia Elger, women's basketball: She had two 20-point games last year. She scored in double figures in eight of the final 13 games. Her 44.2 shooting percentage from 3-point range was tops on the team. Click here for more.
No. 19 Luke Haakenson: The junior midfielder was responsible for one of the most thrilling moments of the year — when he sprinted behind Tulsa’s defense, won a one-on-one battle with the goalkeeper and guided home a game-winner in overtime. Click here to read more.
No. 18 Nate Vontz: His breakout moment might have come this summer. Competing at the Indian Creek Invitational, Vontz set a course record with a 6-under 66 on one day. Click here to read more.
No. 17 Kuba Polat: The sophomore midfielder attempted nine shots last year, recording one goal and four assists. Click here to read more.
No. 16 Mitch Ragan: He produced a 1.97 ERA over his last five outings, striking out 34 in 32 innings. Click here to read more.
No. 15 Mitch Ballock: He averaged 11.6 points per game during the Jays’ final five contests — which was third-best on the team behind Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas. Click here to read more.
No. 14 Kiele Miller: If Creighton is going to build off its second-place Big East finish, it’ll need Miller to carry over her successes to 2019. Click here to read more.
No. 13 Ashley Ishimura: She went 15-5 for CU — losing just once in her final 14 matches. She earned a spot on the All-Big East second team. Click here to read more.
No. 12 Isaac Collins: Collins has spent his summer showing off his skills in the Cape Cod League. He batted .308 (11th-best in the league) during the regular season, leading his team with five stolen bases and finishing second with 27 runs scored. Click here to read more.
No. 11 Ashley Cantu: Cantu scored 45 runs — her rate of 1.05 runs scored per game ranked ninth nationally. Click here to read more.
No. 10 Davion Mintz: He showed flashes of his potential toward the end of his sophomore season, averaging 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists his final five games. Click here to read more.
No. 9 Megan Ballenger: She serves, blocks and (occasionally) sets. Ballenger’s hitting percentage (.304) was third on the team last year. Click here to read more.
No. 8 Joel Rydstrand: He is Creighton’s top returning point scorer — that’s largely based on his ability to create chances for others. Click here to read the story.
No. 7 Brittany Witt: The reigning Big East libero of the year will patrol the back row again. Her intangible impact — she always brings high energy and effort — will help the Jays remain on the right track. Click here to read the story.
No. 6 Will Robertson: The Jays will need a slugger at the center of their lineup. Robertson fits the mold. He’s in store for a special 2019 season. Click here to read the story.
No. 5 Jaylyn Agnew: A versatile defender (able to guard multiple positions) and a skilled scorer (she shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range last season). Click here to read more.
No. 4 Martin Krampelj: He averaged 15.2 points and 10.8 rebounds, shooting 66.0 percent from the floor in his first five league games. Click here to read more.
No. 3 Audrey Faber: She had two 30-point games last season, and five of 20-plus. She was sixth in the Big East at 14.8 points per game. Click here to read more.
No. 2 Taryn Kloth: She was at her best at the end of last season, averaging 3.08 kills per set and hitting .329 during the final 10 matches. Click here to read more.
No. 1 Jaali Winters: The program’s all-time kills record is likely to be Winters’ by the end of the season. She’s already fourth in school history. Click here to read the story.