College Report: Neuqua’s Bryan Ciesiulka fired up to join MLS team

Neuqua Valley graduate Bryan Ciesiulka admitted that, as the Major League Soccer SuperDraft went through the first three rounds, he was getting more nervous with each name being called.

But in the fourth round, with their 18th pick, the 75th overall of the SuperDraft, the Chicago Fire came through for the Marquette University midfielder.

“I had gotten some great feedback from my agent (Remington Ellis) prior to the draft,” Ciesiulka said. “It feels great to be taken by the Fire. I have always not only dreamed of playing professional soccer, but playing for them.

Ciesiulka, who recently graduated, becomes only the second Marquette soccer player to be drafted.

During the 2013 season, the 5-4 senior played in 15 games and finished with two assists. He had 35 shots, with 12 on goal. Ciesiulka was a major part of the defense that held opponents to just 20 goals against the Golden Eagles.

Marquette finished 13-6-2 overall and 6-2-1 in the Big East Conference. Ciesiulka shared Big East Conference Midfielder of the Year honors. He helped Marquette earn a second consecutive Big East regular-season title.

“I can’t thank the coaching staff at Marquette enough,” Ciesiulka said. “They were instrumental in preparing me to be a professional soccer player. They were so professional with the entire team. I worked hard to get to this point. My main concern when I am on the field is protecting the ball. I want to do the same for the Fire.”

Ciesiulka has had a long relationship with Chicago Fire teams. He began playing for the Fire Development Academy in 2010. He moved through the club ranks and has been on the Chicago Fire PDL team the last three years. He has also been a player on the Super 20 team.

Jared Brownridge (Waubonsie Valley) poured in a career-high 30 points but it was not enough to power Santa Clara beyond Brigham Young. He shot 9-of-21, which included four treys, and 8-of-8 on free throws. He also had two steals and two assists. Santa Clara is 13-7 overall and 5-2 in the West Coast Conference.

Northwestern got a pair of double-digit performances from Drew Crawford (Naperville Central) in beating Purdue 63-60 in double overtime and downing Indiana 54-47. Crawford shot 8-of-23 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the line to finish the Purdue game with 19 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. He had 17 points and 12 rebounds against IU. Northwestern has won three of its last four games. They are 10-10, 3-4 in the Big Ten.

Western Illinois lost a pair of games on the road as it was topped by North Dakota State (65-52) and South Dakota State (64-55). WIU freshman guard Jabari Sandifer (Neuqua Valley) had 13 points, a team-leading six assists and two rebounds in the loss to NDSU. He nailed 3-of-7 shots and 6-of-6 free throws. He had one trey. He finished with six points and five rebounds against SDSU. Western Illinois is 7-11, 1-2 in the Summit League.

Grand Canyon split a pair of men’s volleyball matches with Concordia-California on the road. In the 3-2 loss, Connor Dougherty (Waubonsie Valley) finished with 10 kills, nine block assists and a .667 hitting percentage. He had seven kills, nine blocks (one solo) and a .500 hitting percentage. The 6-6 senior middle hitter has helped Grand Canyon post a 3-2 mark.

Brien Gerber (Neuqua Valley) competed in three events for Northwestern in a dual outing with the Notre Dame swimming team. He competed in the 200-yard breaststroke (eighth, 2 minutes, 12.03 seconds), 200 individual medley (ninth, 1:59.87) and 100 backstroke (12th, :54.11). Northwestern and Notre Dame tied with 150 points each.

Carly Schlupp (Neuqua Valley), a Southern Illinois senior swimmer, finished ninth in the 200 butterfly (2:23.92) and 11th in the 100 butterfly (1:05.40) in a triangular outing with Olivet Nazarene and Illinois. She was also a member of SIUC’s 200 medley relay, which finished ninth in 1:59.47. SIUC defeated Olivet (198-94), but lost to the Illini (199.5-96.5).

Ohio Valley’s David Sinickas (Naperville North) scored six points in OVU’s 89-86 overtime loss to Cedarville. He played 18 minutes. In a 79-72 loss to Bluefield State, Sinickas had five points and four rebounds. Ohio Valley is 3-13 overall and 2-5 in the Great West Athletic Conference.