Elmar Bolowich figured his first Creighton soccer team would possess some firepower.
After all, the Bluejays returned a forward in Ethan Finlay who had scored 15 goals a season ago. The five players that sat behind Finlay on the 2010 scoring chart also returned.
Still, Bolowich was concerned coming out of spring practice.
"I didn't think we had much variety in our attack,'' he said.
Bolowich is starting to re-evaluate that assessment three games into the season. Seven players have scored the Bluejays' nine goals that have produced wins over Denver, Missouri-Kansas City and Drexel. Seven players have recorded assists.
The Bluejays have gotten points from three newcomers — North Carolina transfer Bruno Castro (two goals, one assist) and freshmen Guido Pena (one goal) and Eric Miller (one assist).
"The insertion of the new players has given us a little more variety in our attack,'' Bolowich said. "We are becoming, hopefully, a little more unpredictable, too. Each guy is a little different in how he plays and what his strengths are and what he brings to the table.
"That's a big asset to us right now. We have the luxury to substitute five or six players without a drop in momentum. We keep the pace up, and that's a big plus.''
The Bluejays, who were ranked sixth in last week's coaches' poll, also have been stingy on the defensive end. They have yet to yield a goal, marking the first time in consecutive seasons that they've opened with three straight shutouts.
Creighton did not give up a goal last season until the fifth match. The Bluejays will have a chance to add to their scoreless string this week when they face Fordham in a Friday night home match and DePaul on Sunday in Chicago.
The manner in which Creighton has jumped off to its 3-0 start has Bolowich's players re-evaluating their thinking about this season.
"We've always talked about how we have a lot of talent here,'' junior forward Andrew Ribeiro said. "We're learning a lot about each other, with a new coach and a lot of new players.
"We trying to put it all in the right order. As soon as that happens, we're going to have a great team here. Once it all comes together, we'll be looking good.''
A big positive has been that Finlay is back to operating at full speed after missing the team's two exhibition games with a minor knee injury. The senior is performing like the player of the year candidate that he is, having notched three assists to go along with the two goals he scored in the UMKC win.
"I feel good,'' he said. "I feel like I've gotten my full strength back. Now, it's mentally getting over it and getting my fitness back. I think I'm pretty much there.''
A tireless worker on the field, Finlay already has unleashed a dozen shots, half of which have been on goal. He might have scored a goal or two in Sunday's win over Drexel had it not been for some stout goalkeeping by the Dragons' Pentti Pussinen.
Like Bolowich, Finlay is encouraged by what he's seen from the Bluejays' offense. There seems to be a good mix developing of players that are high-intensity guys with those that are strong fundamentally.
"I don't know if we even expected that,'' Finlay said. "We have more guys contributing than we expected.''
NOTES: Junior forward Dion Acoff made his 2011 debut against Drexel after missing the first two games with a groin injury. He assisted on Creighton's first goal and played 41 minutes. ... Senior goalkeeper Brian Holt posted his 29th career shutout against Drexel. He set the Missouri Valley record when he blanked Denver in the opener. He also was in goal for the first 71 minutes of the UMKC win but doesn't get credit for the shutout because redshirt freshman Alex Bolowich played the final 18:53 ... The goal Andrew Ribeiro scored against Drexel was the junior's first career game-winner, not his first goal as reported in some editions of Monday's World-Herald.
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