EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The University of Evansville men's soccer team's bid for its first-ever Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title came up just short Saturday night at Arad McCutchan Stadium, as visiting No. 16 Creighton claimed the championship outright with a 2-1 win.
An early miscue by UE (9-7-1, 3-1-1 MVC) led to an early Creighton (13-3-2, 5-0-1 MVC) goal in the eighth minute. The Bluejays took advantage of a prime scoring chance when a UE defender played a ball over goalkeeper Eric Teppen and it landed at the feet of Creighton's Timo Pitter, who put it in the back of an open net for his eighth goal of the year.
The Aces fought back and found the equalizer in the 21st minute, when sophomore Mark Anthony Gonzalez put home a rebound off of a shot by Nick Schroeder. Schroeder fired a low shot that was initially saved by CU keeper Jeff Gal, but Gal was unable to corral it and the loose ball ended up at the feet of Gonzalez, who knotted the score at 1-1.
The Bluejays closed the half with a tally on a corner kick just over a minute before the halftime whistle to regain the lead at 2-1. Jose Ribas sent a left-footed corner kick service to the back post, where Brent Kallman was waiting and headed the ball into the back of the net.
Both sides fired six shots in the first stanza and Creighton held a slim, 3-2, advantage heading into the locker room.
Evansville and Creighton created their fair share of scoring chances in the second half, forcing the opposing goalkeepers to make three saves each.
The Aces pushed numbers forward late in the game, but the Bluejay defense was able to stave off the UE attack and claim the MVC regular-season crown.
CU attempted eight shots to Evansville's five over the final 45 minutes, while neither team was able to earn a corner kick.
Gonzalez led the Aces with three shots and Schroeder put both of his attempts on frame, as they were the only UE players to get off more than one shot. In goal, Teppen tallied three saves, with two of them coming in the second half.
Evansville will now await its seed for the upcoming MVC Tournament that will begin with quarterfinal play on Nov. 7 at Shea Stadium in Peoria, Ill.