After a scoreless first half, the third-ranked Bluejays picked up the intensity in the final 45 minutes and got goals from Andrew Ribeiro and Ethan Finlay that carried them to a 2-0 victory over No. 22 Kentucky before 2,557 fans at Morrison Stadium.
Creighton defender Tyler Polak said Bolowich wasn't a happy camper at halftime. Ribeiro agreed.
“He had his stern face on,” Ribeiro said. “He picked us up and made us work. I wouldn't say he was angry, but he wanted more from us.
“He knew we could give more, and we totally agreed. I think we showed it in the second half.”
Bolowich didn’t serve up a halftime rant to his players.
“I wasn’t pleased, let’s put it that way,” he said. “Did we come out as aggressive as I’d like to see us? No, but I think we changed it in the second half.”
Ribeiro put the Bluejays ahead nine minutes into the second half when he took a perfect pass from Finlay and drove a shot into the lower left corner of the goal from just outside the box.
“That was awesome,” said Ribeiro, who picked up his second goal of the season. “I thought he was going to turn and shoot, but I guess I screamed loud enough.”
Finlay made it 2-0 less than five minutes later when he blasted home the ricochet of teammate Bruno Castro’s shot off a Kentucky player.
That was enough offense, but the question remained whether Creighton could continue to stymie a Kentucky attack that came into the match ranked second nationally in scoring. The Bluejays did, finishing off their seventh straight shutout in a 7-0 start to the season.
Creighton remained the only Division I team not to allow a goal this season.
“We practiced defending a lot of long balls this week because we knew that was their main factor and that they had two pretty good scorers up there,” Polak said. “We basically tried to rely on our pressure and then find the easy out or kick it long and then start pressuring again.”
Kentucky, which had been averaging more than 18 shots a game, got only 12 against the Bluejays. The Wildcats put five on goal, and goalkeeper Brian Holt turned each one away.
Holt came up with three saves in the first half, while Kentucky goalkeeper Tyler Beadle kept the game scoreless when he knocked away Finlay’s penalty kick with 5:27 left in the first half.
Kentucky coach Ian Collins said his team might have run out of gas about the time Creighton was putting the pedal to the metal in the second half.
“This was our sixth match in 16 days,” said Collins, whose team dropped to 6-3-1. “I think we got tired, but I give them all the credit in the world. They’re a good team, and we knew that.
“They move the ball well. They’re fit. They’re strong and relentless. But part of the deal is that we got tired.”
Kentucky (6-3-1)...............................0 0—0
At Creighton (7-0)............................0 2—2
Goals: 1, CU, Ribeiro (Polak, Finlay), 54:00. 2, CU, Finlay (Castro), 58:44. Shots: UK 12, CU 16. Saves: UK, Beadle 5, team 1; CU Holt, 5. Fouls: UK 20, CU 10.
NOTES: Creighton lost midfielder Jose Gomez for an undetermined amount of time as he suffered a pulled hamstring. “It could be a week or 10 days,” Bolowich said. “Or more.” … The 7-0 start is Creighton’s best since 1993, when the Bluejays won their first 19 games ... The Bluejays broke the school record of six consecutive shutouts set in 2008 ... Creighton closes out a stretch in which the Bluejays have played five of six matches at home with a Saturday contest against St. Mary’s.
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