2011 MVC Men’s Soccer All-Conference Teams Announced
Thursday, November 10, 2011

ST. LOUIS – Creighton, the nation’s top-ranked team in the NCAA’s RPI report and the 2nd-ranked team in the NSCAA national rankings, has claimed the league’s top individual honor, with the Bluejays’ senior forward Ethan Finlay taking the league’s Player of the Year honors.  Creighton’s Andrew Duran has been tabbed the Valley’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Bluejay senior Brian Holt has been named the Goalkeeper of the Year.  Finlay, Duran and Holt headline a list of 23 student-athletes named to the 2011 MVC All-Conference teams, selected by the coaches, and announced by the league office Thursday.  The all-conference teams will be recognized at an awards reception tonight in Omaha, Neb.

Creighton, along with Drake and Bradley, three of league’s top four finishers, combined to place 16 athletes on the first- and second-team all-conference squads.  The Bluejays placed a combined eight players on the first- and second-teams, the most in the league.  Bradley and Drake were the only other schools to place multiple players on the all-conference first-team with two players each honored.   

Finlay, a preseason all-American and MAC Hermann Trophy candidate, helped Creighton to a share of its 11th Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title and the No. 2 seed in this week’s State Farm MVC Tournament.  He is tied for the league-lead with 11 goals, including five game-winners.  He is the only player in the MVC with at least five goals and five assists this season.  He tallied four multi-goal games this season, including his first career hat trick against No. 7 UC Irvine on October 15.  He joins Tulsa’s Ryan Pore as the second player to earn the league’s top honor two seasons in a row. 

Duran, a fifth-year senior that started a career-high 18 matches this season, plays the lead role in one of the nation’s best defenses, commanding the back line on a team that allowed just four goals this season.  He is a major player in helping produce 14 shutouts in 18 games this season.  A lockdown defender, he was recognized for his outstanding play during a pair of Creighton 1-0 shutouts at Bradley and SIUE. Duran was named the MVC Defensive Player of the Week and honored on the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week for his play in the pair of shutouts.  He is the ninth Creighton player to win the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year honor, and the first since Chris Schuler in 2008.

Holt tallied a league-leading 12 shutouts this season, allowing just four goals – and only one in Valley action.  He is the final man in one of the nation’s best defensive units, as Creighton’s goalkeeper leads the nation in two statistical categories, including goals against average (0.223) and save percentage (0.926).  He is the MVC record holder with 40 career shutouts and his 0.65 career goals against average is also tops in the league.  He is the first Creighton player to win the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year honor.

The Valley’s Freshman of the Year comes from affiliate member SIU Edwardsville, as the Cougars rookie midfielder Matt Polster earned this year’s honor.  Polster started all 20 matches for the Cougars this season in the SIUE midfield.   He is a crucial piece in the Cougars offense, tallying two goals and a team-high six assists.  Polster is the first SIUE player to win the league’s honor for the top newcomer.  The award was a Newcomer of the Year award from 1991-95 and Freshman of the Year from 1996-present.

Creighton’s coaching staff has earned the MVC’s Coaching Staff of the Year honor, the third coaching honor for the school in the past four seasons.  Prior to 2006, the award had been named “Coach of the Year.”  Overall, the award is the sixth for Creighton as Bluejay coaches’ earned MVC Coach of the Year honors in 1992, 1993 and 1996 and Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2008 and 2010.  Currently the nation’s top ranked team in the NCAA’s RPI and the No. 2 team in the NSCAA national rankings, in his first season at Creighton head coach Elmar Bolowich led the Bluejays to a share of its MVC record 11th regular-season championship this season, putting together an impressive 16-2 campaign.  Creighton won its first eight games via shutout, and have outscored their opponents 32-4 on the season.  Creighton’s 16 wins are tied for the most in the nation, while its seven road wins are also tops in the NCAA.  Elmar Bolowich is assisted by Johnny Torres, Justin Hughes and Matt Wieland. 

The Creighton Bluejays tabbed the honor of the Valley’s Fair Play Award, which is structured after the FIFA Fair Play honor.  It is awarded to the Valley squad that has the fewest penalty cards during all regular-season matches, as the Bluejays tallied just 13 yellow cards in regular-season action.

Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
#%Brian Holt Creighton GK Sr. Omaha, Neb. (Creighton Prep)
Andrew Duran Creighton D Sr. Mokena, Ill. (Lincoln-Way East)
#&Tyler Polak Creighton D So. Lincoln, Neb. (Bradenton Prep)
Ryan Wilhelm SIUE D Sr. St. Louis, Mo. (CBC)
^Greg Jordan Creighton MF Sr. Naperville, Ill. (Central)
Matt Kuhn Drake MF Sr. Raytown, Mo. (Raytown South)
Christian Meza Bradley MF Sr. Carpentersville, Ill. (Dundee-Crown)
*Charlie Schwartz Drake MF Sr. Bettendorf, Iowa (Bettendorf)
^@Ethan Finlay Creighton F Sr. Marshfield, Wis. (Marshfield)
^!Bryan Gaul Bradley F Sr. Naperville, Ill. (Neuqua Valley)
#Heath Melugin Missouri State F Sr. Springfield, Mo. (Kickapoo)
^First-team selection in 2010; #Second-team in 2010; *HM in 2010; @First-team in 2009; %Second-team in 2009; !HM in 2009


Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Brian Billings Bradley GK So. Apple Valley, Minn. (Shattuck-St. Mary's)
Garrett Crall Drake D So. Norwalk, Iowa (Norwalk)
Andrew O'Brien Central Arkansas D Sr. Spring, Texas (Klein)
*Jarrett Robbins Evansville D Sr. Louisville, Ky. (Louisville Male)
Thomas Vania Missouri State D Sr. Kennesaw, Ga. (North Cobb)
^Dion Acoff Creighton MF Jr. Upland, Calif. (Damien)
Bruno Castro Creighton MF So. San Jose, Costa Rica (North Carolina/Saint Paul)
^Jose Gomez Creighton MF Jr. Santa Ana, Calif. (Cal State Fullerton/Century)
Jack Twellman SIUE MF Sr. St. Louis, Mo. (SLUH)
*Joseph Cervantes Central Arkansas F Sr. Dallas, Texas (Duncanville)
Hunter Kennedy Drake F Sr. Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids Washington)
#Thomas Ostrander Drake F Sr. Fort Dodge, Iowa (St. Edmond Catholic)
^First-team selection in 2010; #Second-team in 2010; *Honorable Mention in 2010


Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Jordan Kadlec Drake GK Sr. Hiawatha, Iowa (Louisville/Cedar Rapids Kennedy)
Scott Meyer SIUE GK Sr. Ballwin, Mo. (Desmet) 
David Buckenheimer Missouri State D Sr. Beaver, Pa. (Beaver) 
Jason Coon Bradley D So. Charleston, Ill. (Charleston) 
Aaron Henkle Evansville D Sr. Carmel, Ind. (Carmel)
Gerard Barbero Missouri State MF Sr. Marietta, Ga. (Lassiter) 
Jordan Hoffman Missouri State MF Sr. Chesterfield, Mo. (Parkway Central) 
Keith Mach Bradley MF Sr. Darien, Ill. (Hinsdale South) 
Ethan Miller Central Arkansas MF Jr. Tomball, Texas (Centenary/Tomball) 
Matt Polster SIUE MF Fr. Las Vegas, Nev. (Palo Verde) 
Andrew Ribeiro Creighton MF Jr. Green Bay, Wis. (Notre Dame Academy)
Jochen Graf Bradley F Jr. Double Oak, Texas (SMU/Faustina Academy) 


Name School Pos. Hometown (Previous School)
Eric Teppen Evansville GK Evansville, Ind. (Harrison)
James Fawke Missouri State D Cheltenham, England (Bournside School) 
Patrick Hodges Evansville D Evansville, Ind. (Harrison) 
Eric Miller Creighton D Woodbury, Minn. (Woodbury) 
Andrew Turner Missouri State D Sheffield, England (Aston Comprehensive)
Kyle Whigham Drake D Overland Park, Kan. (St. Thomas Aquinas) 
Parker Maher Missouri State MF Joplin, Mo. (Joplin) 
Matt Polster SIUE MF Las Vegas, Nev. (Palo Verde) 
Matt Taphorn Central Arkansas MF Denver, Colo. (Rangeview) 
Desmond Campbell Bradley F Kingston, Jamaica (Wolmer's Boys School) 
Ryan Stallings Evansville F Coxs Creek, Ky. (Nelson County)

Ethan Finlay, Creighton
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Andrew Duran, Creighton
GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR:  Brian Holt, Creighton
COACHING STAFF OF THE YEAR:  Creighton (Elmar Bolowich, Johnny Torres, Justin Hughes and Matt Wieland)