When it comes to rivalry matches, all bets are off as to what the outcome of the game will be. Those games where the teams have that added bit of lengthy history or geographical proximity between them are almost always thrilling and hardly ever predictable.
With that on their mind, crosstown rivals Omaha Mavericks women’s soccer and the Creighton Bluejays met on Sunday night in Morrison Stadium.
Both teams came into the game having only recently found success in the year after tough starts to the season. The Mavericks were coming into the game on a two game winning streak, including wins over UMKC and Missouri State. On the flipside, the Bluejays had previously lost a tight game against Drake University, but before that, had gotten their first win of the season against Kansas State.
Omaha came into the game looking to reverse their fortune against Creighton. All-time, Creighton led Omaha in wins by a number of 8-1. However, all past results became inconsequential when the game kicked off on the field.
The Mavericks and Bluejays met before a program-record crowd of 2,308 in downtown Omaha. The fans expected a good, well fought game for the evening and both sets of players were willing to provide.
At the beginning of the match, it appeared that only the Creighton fans would come away satisfied, as Creighton sophomore Ashleigh Cearlock opened the scoring in only the sixth minute.
Going down a goal early would not suit the Mavericks well, as Creighton continued to attack. A push in the box in the 15th minute would lead to a penalty kick for the Bluejays. Omaha goalie Erin Bunker unfortunately guessed the wrong way on the ensuing kick, leading to a 2-0 Creighton lead.
To cap off the first half, Creighton forward Kaira Hauser made a dashing run into the box before slotting a shot past Bunker, capping off an impressive solo goal.
The half would end with the score 3-0 for the Bluejays.
Three minutes was all that transpired in the second half before thunderstorms led to a lengthy stoppage of play. The game began again when the referee deemed it safe to play after 42 minutes.
Omaha played a much tighter game after the delay and managed a goal of their own in the 66th minute. Junior Abby Meader continued her excellent scoring form after putting away a cross from senior Carlie Cook.
This gave the Mavericks a way back into the game, but it would be too little, too late, as the Creighton defense would prove capable in holding on for the win.
The lose continued a series of frustration for the Mavericks, as they dropped to 1-9 against the Bluejays all time, the last win in 2002.
This loss being a tough one to be sure, and might seem like a setback after a good run over the last few games. However, the Mavericks have demonstrated a bounce-back ability this season, and should be able to learn from this loss and use it as motivation to find success for the rest of the season.
One key for the team will be finding an ability to start games aggressively and avoid playing catch up late. When that is taken care of, Omaha has shown that they can be incredibly deadly, and with Summit League play fast approaching, it could still carry them far.
The Omaha Mavericks play at Drake University on Sept. 20, before returning to home to take on Rockhurst on Sept. 24. These are the last two games for the Mavericks before beginning conference play.