For most of the match, 86-and-a-half minutes to be exact, it looked like the seventh-ranked Notre Dame and sixth-ranked Creighton men's soccer teams were headed for a scoreless draw in Sunday's exhibition.
Creighton forward Carlos McCrary changed that in the 87th minute with some help from freshman Marvin Iskra. Iskra played a long, lofted ball near the top of the penalty box. McCrary, who was flanked by a Fighting Irish defender to his left and right, won possession, carried the ball into the box, beat the keeper, and passed the ball into the back of the net. McCrary credited his teammate for doing much of the heavy lifting that lead to his goal.
"I was just making a run behind one of the defenders. It was really more of Marvin's doing," said McCrary. "He found a pass, which was a really difficult pass to find. He just found me in, and I got in behind the defender and I just scored."
McCrary also scored the only goal in last week's Blue-White scrimmage. For a team in need of a reliable scoring threat up top, the senior is showing well in the pre-season and it's helping his confidence.
"You know, really high," McCrary answered when asked about his confidence level. "I'm more excited about what's to come. High confidence is one thing, but keeping it going is another thing."
Alex Bolowich did his part in goal, making three saves the shutout. Outside of a first-half breakaway, which left Bolowich one-on-one against Notre Dame's Leon Brown, defenders Eric Miller, Jose Ribas, Brendan Hines-Ike, and Benito Amaral stomped out Notre Dame's scoring opportunities. According to the Bluejays' coach, the defensive midfielders also deserved some of the credit.
"The defensive midfielders worked extremely hard, (Christian) Blandon and (Zach) Barnes and Vincent Keller. They kept a lot of the pressure off of our back four," said Creighton coach Elmar Bolowich. "So, we hardly allowed them open looks and certainly no clear scoring chances other than the one in the first half when they had a breakaway on a mental lapse where we turned the ball over."
Both teams were limited to few scoring opportunities. Creighton out shot Notre Dame 5-4, and had three corner kicks to the Fighting Irish's one. A second game was played to get some reserves extra minutes. That 60-minute match ended in a scoreless draw.
One of the few things Bolowich was disappointed with after the game was Notre Dame's ability to win a majority of the balls in the air. He also hoped to have his offense better tuned for Friday's final exhibition against UNO. Creighton's coach is glad to have scheduled quality opponents in his two exhibition matches.
"It gives us the kind of team you want to play in preseason, because it gives you a different measuring stick," said Bolowich. "If you are playing a division II or III or whatever team, and you win 5-0, you really don't know where you are once you find your best, first tough opponent."
Creighton Tops Irish in First Exhibition
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