OMAHA, Neb. – Senior midfielder David Najem’s goal in the 55th minute tied Columbia with second-ranked Creighton, 1-1, but two goals by the home team in the second half gave the Bluejays a 3-1 decision at Morrison Stadium Friday night. A total of 5,102 packed the house Friday night, the sixth largest home crowd in Creighton men’s soccer history.
The opening tally of the contest came just 15 minutes into the first period, giving Creighton a 1-0 advantage. Controlling the ball in the Columbia defensive zone, Jack Gagné was knocked to the ground by Creighton’s Sean Kim in a play ruled clean by the officials. Kim then turned the direction of play 180 degrees and raced into the penalty area where he scored with a low shot to the left.
The rest of the first period was played scoreless, but the intensity of the contest continued to pick up, culminating with the second yellow card of the half being issued to Creighton’s Marvin Iskra in the 36th minute. The Bluejays maintained the offensive pressure throughout the half, racking up eight total shots, four of which resulted in saves for Jackson.
Columbia’s adjustments at the half proved to be just what it needed, sparking a renewed energy within the Lions. Controlling the ball for most of the opening minutes paid off with a tally orchestrated by two seniors in the 55th minute. On the charge, Will Stamatis laced a shot off the post from 25 yards out that Najem corralled seven yards from the goal before placing in the back of the net.
The goal was the first allowed by the Bluejays the entire season, snapping a 234-minute scoreless streak.
Columbia continued to maintain momentum following the tally, but Creighton would shift the game back in its favor in the 77th minute. Timo Pitter gave the Bluejays the upperhand with his third goal of the season, scoring on a shot just six yards to the right of the goal. Ricardo Perez provided an insurance goal for Creighton 10 minutes later, also scoring from close range, but from the left side of the net.
Jackson finished the game with nine saves on 18 Creighton shots. Both teams took five corners in the second half, while 18 Columbia student-athletes saw playing time.