Photo courtesy Omavs.com
The University of Denver men’s soccer team (14-0-3, 5-0-1) traveled to the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s (8-4-4, 4-0-1) Caniglia Field in a match of Summit League unbeatens. With a beautiful afternoon in the 70’s, a homecoming crowd of 1,025, and Omaha’s Senior Day it was a perfect setting for a home team victory. But it was not to be for a confident, pressing UNO team that out-shot the Pioneers, 18-14.
The match was hard-fought with UNO holding a slight advantage, especially in the second half of play. The game moved to crawl at times as Denver committed 18 fouls in the match to the Mavs’ 14. Denver picked up two yellow cards in extra time: Ryan Barlow at 94:03 and Kortne Ford at 102:56. Total shots on frame were 4-3 in favor of the Mavericks.
DU’s goalie, James Bannon-Sneebeck, made his surprise first career start and he earned a shutout. Bannon-Sneebeck lost his father last week to a battle with ALS and the team held a moment of silence for his family last week at CIBER Field.
The team’s back line rallied again today to limit the shots he had to handle. However, UNO did much the same thing on their end. For fans who love great defense and all-out effort, this match gave you everything you wanted and more. The Pioneers played a more defensive game than preferred by Jamie Franks, so expect a more aggressive offensive approach going forward into the Summit League and NCAA Tournaments. If you love scoring and finesse, this match was not for you.
Omaha’s coach Jason Mims told Omaha.com,, “We wanted to win, so (I’m) disappointed. But I’m also super happy because I thought we were pretty good. We left knowing that, yes, it was 0-0. But I thought we were really, really good. And if someone was going to win down the stretch, it looked like we were going to win it.”
Denver plays non-Summit League foe Portland (10-3-1/#54 RPI) Thursday at CIBER Field.
Omaha still has one game left in Summit League play to Oral Roberts. Denver would take the top seed into the upcoming Summit League Tournament in Denver with an Oral Roberts win or draw when the Golden Eagles host Omaha next week, or Denver would take the top spot on goals for with a 1-0 Omaha win and would take the top spot on shutouts in league play with a 2-1 Omaha win. Omaha would take the top seed at CIBER Field in two weeks with a two-goal win or a 3-2 one-goal win or higher.
Either way, Denver and Omaha will be the top two seeds on opposite sides of the bracket for the conference tournament at CIBER Field November 10-12.
Oh, by the way, Denver extended their regular season unbeaten streak to 34 games.