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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Creighton goalkeeper bounces back

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 •  Soccer tourneys have Island flavor

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Creighton senior goalkeeper Andrew Brown was thrust into the starting lineup his sophomore year after an injury to the starting senior goalkeeper.

Andrew Brown, a 2000 Mililani graduate, is guiding Creighton to its 13th straight NCAA tourney.

Creighton University photo

So on Oct. 1, when Brown went down with a severe groin pull against Southern Methodist, it looked like it would be his turn to lose the starting position as a senior.

But Brown, a 2000 graduate of Mililani, returned to the Bluejays 2 weeks later, starting in a match against Western Kentucky on Oct. 17.

"Andrew is a resilient guy and he's been through different kinds of injuries," Creighton coach Bob Warming said. "The greatest thing about him is he's shown leadership qualities on and off the field, even when he was injured and not playing."

Brown will lead the No. 13 Bluejays (13-4-1) into their 13th consecutive NCAA tournament, one of only five teams in the nation to accomplish that feat.

Brown is one of nine players from Hawai'i who are playing in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, beginning this week.

Brown injured his groin in the same game that Southern Methodist junior midfielder Duke Hashimoto, a 2002 graduate of Iolani from Kapolei, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Warming called Hashimoto a "fantastic player" and, with two players from Hawai'i in the Missouri Valley Conference, said he would like to look into recruiting more from Hawai'i.

Last year, Creighton advanced to the Elite Eight, where Brown "carried the team on his back," Warming said.

Brown made a save in the penalty-kicks portion to help Creighton defeat San Diego in the NCAA second round.

"His confidence is higher than it's been," Warming said. "He's very mature now and he's ready to step into the real world when he gets out of here."

Brown's sophomore season, in which he started the final 17 games after starting goalkeeper Mike Gabb suffered a season-ending injury, he was named to the MVC All-Tournament team.

Brown redshirted what would have been his junior season in 2002 — when Creighton advanced to the College Cup, the Final Four in Division I men's soccer — because of a knee injury suffered early in the season.

He came back strong the following season, highlighted by his performance in last year's NCAA tournament and being rewarded by the National Strength and Conditioning Association with its annual All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year award.

He was one of 186 athletes honored from 80 schools.

"That is something that only comes one way," Warming said. "It's not a talent or gift, it is something that comes through only hard work."

Brown has started 12 matches this season, with a 1.23 goals against average and 34 saves.

"He is in the mold of many top players we've had here," Warming said. "He's constantly worked hard to improve himself."

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2457.