The sound of the referee’s whistle being blown approximately every five-to-ten minutes pulsed the atmosphere of CIBER Field as the University of Denver Pioneers hosted the Saint Mary’s College Gaels in a dramatic Sunday evening match. With six minutes remaining, Saint Mary’s Anders Engerbretsen cut past DU’s A.J. Fuller on the goal line and positioned his shot precisely in the upper left 90 corner to put the Gaels on the board first.
Denver (4-4-0,0-0-0 Summit League) controlled the majority of possession throughout the first half holding a 7-2 shot advantage over Saint Mary’s (2-3-2, 0-0-0 West Coast Conference).
Denver’s most promising chances came from Brazil native and junior forward Andre Shinyashiki and redshirt junior center back Scott DeVoss. Shinyashiki posted a lethal strike on frame in the 11th minute of the opening half, but the Saint Mary’s goalie got a hand on the shot.
DeVoss finished a lost ball from the six yard line off a scramble sequence that was later taken back due to an initial foul just ahead of the DeVoss’ chance.
The Gaels returned fired up in the second half whereas the Pioneer’s rhythm appeared disoriented; struggling to build up chances into the attacking third. Saint Mary’s doubled up their shot advantage over Denver 4-2.
The teams combined to commit 13 fouls in the opening half which escalated to 23 total fouls by the end of the match.
The match was played at a fast tempo, yet neither team could maintain a strong grasp of possession. Another loss for the Pioneers won’t demolish DU’s chances at finishing in the College Cup in Philadelphia as the in-conference portion of the season has yet to begin, but the Pioneers are desperately in need of a confidence boost they haven’t needed in past seasons.
For their next match, Denver will travel to St. Louis University to play St. Louis on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.