Omaha, Neb. — Sophomore Kaira Houser provided the spark on offense to lift the Creighton women’s soccer squad to a 2-0 win over St. John’s on Sunday, Oct. 9.
The win lifted the Bluejays to 8-3-2 on the season and 3-2-0 in BIG EAST play, while St. John’s fell to 6-3-5 overall and 1-2-2 in BIG EAST action.
The Red Storm came out as the early offensive aggressor in a key contest for both squad, but the Bluejay defense proved equal to the challenge. Freshman goalkeeper McKenzie Meola kept St. John’s off the scoreboard with two of her season-high seven saves in the opening five minutes of play.
After working through the opening flurry from the Red Storm, the Bluejays mounted their own attack. Junior Darby Hugunin fired off the Bluejays’ first shot in the sixth minute, then Creighton created two corners in the 15th and 23rd minute.
Houser made an immediate impact after coning on to the field in the 28th minute (27:30) as she fired off a shot in her first minute on the pitch. Moments later Houser executed a give-and-go with freshman Hannah Miller to put Creighton in front 1-0. Houser sent a pass to Miller in the just inside the box, the Kansas native returned the pass to Houser on the left side. Houser quickly fired a shot off the hands of St. John’s goalkeeper, Diana Poulin, from eight yards away with 34:15 showing on the clock.
Creighton held the 1-0 edge into halftime despite St. John’s having a 6-3 edge on shots in the first period.
The second half followed the pattern laid out in the opening frame as St. John’s was the early aggressor, but the insertion of Houser at 69:01 gave Creighton a needed edge. Houser’s impact was evident even faster in the second half as her first touch led to Creighton’s second goal. Houser fielded the ball along the left side of the pitch, sending a long crossing pass to seniorLauren Sullivan near the right side of the box. Houser’s pass put Sullivan in a one-on-one battle with Poulin, Sullivan won the exchange for her 10th goal in her last eight matches. It was also Sullivan’s eighth consecutive match with a goal and ninth with at least one point.
Sullivan’s goal moved the senior into sole possession of third place in Creighton history in goals scored with 31 in her career.
Creighton’s third victory in conference play is the most BIG EAST wins in one season for the Bluejays. It is also the most conference victories for Creighton in conference play since the Bluejays went 4-1-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play in 2011.
Meola posted her second consecutive shutout, also the second clean sheet in her career. Meola faced 13 shots by the Red Storm, making seven saves.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 15 as the Bluejays face Providence in a road match at 12:00 pm.