Officially, this game was only an exhibition match.
Any goals, assists, or saves from this game won’t go into the stats book. Any missed call from a referee won’t have any permanent implications. And at the end of the night, the UNO and Creighton men’s soccer teams will have the same record as they started with: 0-0-0.
However, the fact that this game didn’t count for the record meant nothing to the players on the field.
Every time that Creighton and Omaha meet, the atmosphere surrounding the game and the play on the field is electric. This time was no different.
The Mavericks and Bluejays met on a pleasant night at Al F. Caniglia field for their first exhibition games of the year. Maverick fans got the opportunity to see their new head coach, Bob Warming, in action against a team that many say he built.
This new era got off to a flying start for the Mavericks when, in the third minute of the game, junior transfer Marcos Bautista finished a cross from sophomore Diego Gutierrez to put the Mavericks ahead.
“Our guys in the first 25 minutes of the game were incredible,” Warming said after the game. “Creighton couldn’t touch the ball. We had it.”
The game quickly leveled out after that however, with scoring chances coming few and far between for both teams. The first half ended 1-0, with both teams only getting one shot on goal each.
The second half saw Creighton bring out a completely different lineup – their first team. These changes worked almost immediately, as Creighton forward Sven Koenig equalized the score just two minutes into the half. The depth of the Bluejays was too much for a young Omaha squad.
“At this point in our program, we don’t have a brand new 11 guys to put on,” Warming said.
The Bluejays would then serve as the main aggressors for the rest of the game. Creighton managed to get a 7-2 shot advantage in the second half, blowing the Mavs away with their speed and agility.
“The second half was a different story,” said Creighton Head, Coach Elmar Bolowich. “Once we put our first 11 out, the pace picked up tremendously and the opportunities came. So, it was probably just a matter of time.”
Heartbreakingly for the Mavericks, one of those shots would prove to be the winner for Creighton. In the final three minutes of the game, Koenig got his second goal for the Bluejays, after breaking past the Omaha defense and finishing past goalkeeper Jeremy Pollard.
“Last year, he played sort of like there was Sven Koenig and then there was Creighton,” Bolowich said after the match. “And now, he plays more Creighton.”
The loss means that the Mavericks will have to learn from their mistakes and build on the positives in order to succeed in the rest of the season.
Omaha played one more friendly after the Creighton matchup – against Green Bay. The Mavs fell 4-0. UNO opens the regular season on August 24th at home versus UC Davis.