Photo: Expect 3,000+ spectators at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium Wednesday night – Adam Streur Photography
Sure, Denver has played in a number of regular season tilts in hockey and lacrosse ranked as a top 10 program facing other top ranked programs . But off the ice and lacrosse field, this Wednesday night’s game is the biggest regular season game ever for the University of Denver.
#8 Denver men’s soccer has recently become a regular visitor to the top 20, more recently the top 10, and the NCAA Tournament. But the question remains as to whether DU can establish itself in the top conversation with a victory over Creighton. The Bluejays compete in the Big East Conference and have risen to prominence in collegiate men’s soccer in the past few decades, having qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 23 of the previous 25 seasons. In the last two years, they were eliminated in the Elite Eight. It’s hard to believe that they would want to give life to the “new kids on the block” and create another regional soccer monster.
Since 2003, Creighton has played their home matches on campus at Morrison Stadium, a 6,000-seat soccer-only stadium and they win roughly 85% of their home games. Any team going to Omaha and coming out with a win will get the attention of college soccer as a whole. More importantly, a win by Denver would signal a shift in the order of college soccer.
Of course, DU could lose the match and still win the Summit league and advance to the NCAA’s. But DU has bigger ambitions this year. Can they go to Omaha against the Bluejays and deliver a knockout blow – sending the message that DU has a playing quality and ambition that goes beyond just another solid non-conference record, conference championship, and a first-round NCAA exit?
DU goes into the match at 7-0-1 after an 87th minute goal lifted the Pioneers over North Florida over the weekend. Creighton sits at 4-1-1. Their one draw came against DU Summit League rival Nebraska-Omaha (1-1).