The Dominican University men's soccer team uncorked a couple quality shots in the first two minutes of its match Wednesday afternoon.
They didn't go in, but it was a preview of what was to come.
The Stars scored four goals in the first half en route to handling host Concordia University Chicago 4-0 in River Forest to stay unbeaten in the Northern Athletic Conference.
Dominican (14-0-1, 8-0-1) broke through for its first goal when sophomore Leo Elizalde took an airborne pass from Trent Miller and buried it with a scissor kick into the back of the net at the 21-minute mark.
"I was hoping that Trent Miller could get that cross in good," Elizalde said. "He's a lefty and he got it in with his right foot. I had to adjust a little bit, but other than that it was more luck than anything."
Mike Kapusta made it 2-0 when his shot from 20 yards hit the right goal post and deflected into the net in the 26th minute. It was his team-high 11th goal of the season.
A minute later, Lio Tovar scored from seven yards in front of the goal.
Tovar assisted on Dominican's fourth goal on a corner kick put in by Nick Kulas on a header in the 37th minute.
"It was hard to break them down at first," Tovar said of the Cougars. "It took a good 15, 20 minutes. But once we did break them down it opened up a little and that's when we scored back-to-back goals."
That was it for the scoring as Dominican coach Erick Baumann and Concordia coach Micah Middendorf subbed liberally in the second half.
Baumann credited the Cougars (2-11-4, 0-6-3) for bottling up his club's attack early.
"They did a good job," Baumann said. "They dropped off. They were organized. It was hard for us to break them down early on, and then once we did the second and third (goals) came shortly after that. It was going to take some time to break 'em and the guys did."
The Stars recorded their 13th shutout of the season behind the combined efforts of goalkeepers Maxwell Gutbrod, Dan Cimicata and Miguel Mondragon.
Dominican has allowed only two goals this season. Its 0.13 goals against average ranks in the top five nationally. Offensively, the Stars are averaging 3.33 goals, which is in the top 20 nationally.
Such numbers have enabled Dominican to rack up a 48-0-2 record in the NAC since the conference started play in 2006.
Confidence isn't the only thing that comes with such a glittering record.
"There's a ton of pressure," Baumann said. "There's a ton of pressure on the staff. There's a ton of pressure on the players. That's part of the program. There's a lot of pressure that comes with it day in and day out.
"Getting to the Final Four last year was a great experience," he continued. "What we realized is the bull's eye on our back was going to be even bigger than it has been in the previous years."
The Stars have their sights set on the national championship.
"We're going for the big one," Elizalde said.
"That's our main goal," Tovar said.