PEORIA, Ill. – Creighton’s Andrew Ribeiro took advantage of miscommunication in Bradley’s defense and ripped a laser from 20 yards out in the 35th minute for the game’s only goal, lifting the #4 Bluejays to a 1-0 Missouri Valley Conference victory versus the #23 Braves on a wet and blustery night at Shea Stadium.
Creighton (12-2-0, 1-1-0 MVC) earned its first Valley points of the season and moved into a tie with Bradley (9-4-2, 1-2-0 MVC) in the middle of the league standings. In a matchup of the two teams that have combined for 10 of the last 12 MVC regular-season and postseason tournament championships, Bluejays keeper Brian Holt needed just two saves to earn the shutout and prevent Bradley from earning its third consecutive win against Creighton for the first time in the history of the rivalry.
Bradley subbed on four new players after the 25th minute and the changes may have contributed to Ribeiro’s opportunity. Jose Gomez sliced the ball across the top of the penalty area and the Braves left Ribeiro alone long enough to collect the pass, size up the free space and let a shot rip from the left side of the “D.” His laser beat Bradley keeper Brian Billings inside the right post for the game’s only goal at 34:08.
The home side provided the early pressure and Bradley owned a 5-2 advantage in shots through the first 21 minutes. Creighton withstood the pressure, though, and quickly turned the tables. By the half, the Bluejays had outshot Bradley, 11-5, and ended the game with a 24-11 advantage.
Billings stood tall between the pipes and came through with seven saves. The best save of the night, though, was made by Holt, who stopped Bradley All-American candidate Bryan Gaul with a sliding save at the left post with just 5:56 remaining.
Bradley will have a week off before wrapping up its season-long, 4-game home stand next Wednesday night, when the Braves host league-leading Missouri State in a 7 p.m. tilt at Shea Stadium.