Ethan Finlay scored in the 97th minute to give Creighton a 1-0 win over South Florida Sunday afternoon at Morrison Stadium, sending the Bluejays into their fourth College Cup in program history and first since 2002.
Senior goalkeeper Brian Holt stopped three shots, all from Big East Offensive Player of the Year Dom Dwyer, to set an NCAA record with his 43rd career shutout.
The second-ranked Jays now head to Hoover, Alabama to play Charlotte at 5 p.m. Friday. UCLA plays top-ranked North Carolina at 7:30 p.m. in the other semifinal. The winners advance to Sunday's national championship game.
Just minutes after Finlay sent perhaps his best scoring chance of the match just left of the goal, he was able to capitalize on another opportunity in the 97th minute. Andrew Ribeiro ripped a shot attempt from outside the 18 yard box, but the shot deflected off of a USF defender and right to the senior All-American. The two-time MVC Player of the Year turned and fired, sending his shot into the lower left side of the goal.
The game-winner was his team-leading 14th goal of the season and his sixth game-winner of the year. The score was also his sixth career NCAA Tournament goal, tying him with Brian Mullan and Mike Tranchilla for the school record. His 20th career game-winning goal served as his third overtime game-winner.
The victory preserved the second perfect home season in school history as the Bluejays finished 14-0-0 in Omaha, setting a school record with their 14th home win.
After a tightly contested first half, which saw 19 fouls whistled and Creighton out-shooting the Bulls 6-3, play settled down in the second half. The Bluejays controlled most of the play in the second half, out-shooting USF 11-3 and 3-0 in overtime. Only seven total fouls were whistled in the second half after a very physical first stanza.
Dwyer was contained for a majority of the match by Bluejay senior defender Jace Peters, but the Bulls' leading scorer was able to put three shots on frame after the second half. All three of his shots came in a seven-minute span, including his first shot on goal on a long free kick in the 62nd minute, which was followed :21 later from close range. Dwyer moved deep into the 18-yard box on his final shot attempt as well, but Holt, the new NCAA record-holder for shutouts, turned him away again.
Creighton would out-shoot the visitors 20-6 and own a 10-2 edge in corner kicks.
Holt, the Omaha native playing in his final home match, posted his 43rd career shutout, 25 of which have come at Morrison Stadium. The MVC Goalkeeper of the Year lowered his NCAA-best goals against average to 0.22.