This is the second installment of White & Blue Review’s preview of the 2010 Creighton men’s soccer team. Join us in the days leading up to the Bluejays’ season opener Wednesday as we look at the different parts of Jamie Clark’s first Creighton team.
If things go right for the Bluejays in 2010, junior Ethan Finlay take the reigns as the next great offensive player in CU history. After scoring 6 goals as a freshman in 2008 (including 4 game-winners), Finlay notched 8 goals (5 game-winners in 7 Creighton wins) as a sophomore. If the first-team All-Valley player met his average of 7 goals in 2010, he would be knocking on the door of the top 10 records list for career goals. But the coaches, and Finlay, expect a bigger season than that.
“Ethan will be carrying a big load this season as we are placing a bit more of an emphasis on the attack,” Creighton head coach Jamie Clark said. “As he is one of our main returning guys, he will be looked to for leadership as well.”
Joining Finlay on the attack is another highly touted returner. As a freshman, Dion Acoff performed well enough to earn the MVC Freshman of the Year award. A speedy player who can swing to the midfield as well, Acoff can hurt opposing defenses both by scoring and by finding the open man. The Creighton faithful expect a lot out of Acoff, a highly recruited player who adjusted to the collegiate game as the 2009 season wore on.
“Dion is a rare combination of great speed and footwork. We hope to see him get in the books a lot this season,” Clark said.
Sophomore Andrew Ribeiro and freshmen Liam Kelly and Kennedy Spencer find themselves in position to pull minutes in the front as underclassmen. Ribeiro played in four matches in 2009, including 26 minutes in a win against #23 Cal Poly. Kelly and Spencer come to CU following highly decorated high school careers.
Overall, Clark is asking that his players make the most out of the attack.
“We will be looking to press a lot with our front four this season. We need to attack and make our own opportunities. It will be a bit of a change for some of the guys, coming from a more defensive mind set, but these guys are buying into the system.”
Redshirt sophomore Greg Jordan returns to action after suffering an ACL injury in the team’s second game of 2009. He is joined in the midfield by returning starter Josh Moran, who made the most out of his first year at CU by leading the team in assists (5) last season. Another returner with some starts under his belt, junior Kris Clark, hopes that injury problems are behind him. Senior Sergio Castillo will play a defensive midfielder role, one at which he has started 41 matches during his time at Creighton.
The rest of the midfield might not look too familiar to Bluejays fans. Newcomers Jose Gomez (transfer from Cal State Fullerton), Nick Golden (freshman from Kansas), Nick Goo (freshman from Hawaii), and freshman Felipe Navarro (freshman from Missouri) are each trying to crack the lineup in their first seasons at CU.
“Jose Gomez will be the one we will be looking to provide the final pass, be it a cross to Ethan or a dish to the wings,” Clark said. “We will be looking for our midfielders, especially the wings, to take a more offensive approach this season. We will still need them to cover on defense, but I want to see more runs and attacks from that position.
“Greg and Sergio have the physicality and skill to control any midfield in the country. They are great talents and we will look to capitalize on that. Health, however, will be a big issue as we are pretty thin on the roster this season.”