Photo: Jason Mims, head Coach of the Omaha Mavericks, wants to be like Denver
While playing out the string of another potentially undefeated season, protecting a top 5 national seed, and preparing for the league playoffs in the Mile High City, the Denver Pioneers face a hungry foe in the UNO Mavericks. The Mavs are licking their chops as they plot to end ‘the streak’ on Senior Day in Omaha. Their coach, Jason Mims, has not been afraid to tell anyone who will listen that he wants to unseat Denver as the Summit League soccer power.
Last season, Denver’s skipper Jamie Franks took the mantle of Summit League Coach of the Year from Mims. Denver is one of the few Summit League program the Mavs follow on twitter – @OmahaMSOC. Last season, in an unconventional approach, Mims publicly argued that the Mavericks trip to play undefeated Denver at CIBER Field was an advantage for UNO because they ‘played a tougher schedule’ and would get some ‘needed rest’. The envy is obvious and desperation palpable.
Before the Summit League season even started, Jason Mims said, “Our guys have that date (October 29th) circled on their calendar.”
Both are undefeated in the Summit league this season. Yet all the ink goes to the Pioneers who haven’t lost a regular season contest since Halloween 2014.
Mims and the Mavs have a bitter taste in his mouth from last season. After playing the Pioneers close in a regular season 1-0 double OT loss in Denver, they anticipated a rematch in the 2015 Summit League Championship game when the Mavs could dish out revenge. Instead, UNO spit the bit and went down in flames with a double overtime loss to Oral Roberts 2-1 in the semifinals – not even advancing to the final game against the eventual Summit League champion Denver.
The Mavericks had all winter stew.
UNO know that the task will be even more difficult in Denver at the end of this season when they sit on opposite sides of the bracket of the 2016 Summit League playoffs at CIBER Field. This is their best chance. This will be their best effort. A flame-out at their home, Caniglia Field, on a homecoming weekend will only tear open an already gaping inferiority complex.
And the team is hedging their bets by imploring their fans to #WearBlackGetLoud with a theme appropriate to either victory or an Irish wake.
UNO Fans, #WearBlackGetLoud, have been sharing this tape of Lydia Martin getting loud to prepare themselves for either outcome.
This is UNO’s Superbowl. And their fans are sure of certain victory:
(Fact Check, NCAA stats show Denver with a #14 RPI and Omaha at #65).
For DU, a win would put them as the top seed for the Summit League playoffs, extend their winning streak, solidify their national rankings, and make them home-field hosts for next season’s Summit League playoffs. For UNO this is a battle for legitimacy.
UNO is good – but not good enough. 3-1 Denver.