Four Burning Questions for Denver Fall Athletics

Volleyball 100Can head coach Tom Hogan’s volleyball squad defend their 5-year regular-season conference winning streak and five consecutive NCAA appearances following the graduation of stars Becca Latham and Emma Willis along with season-ending injuries to outside hitter Taylor Joachim and to their best player, outside hitter Katarina Marinkovic? The addition of Louisville transfer outside hitter Amanda Green will help but…will a raw Pioneer team mature by league play? This will be DU’s most challenging season in recent memory. A repeat performance would be Hogan’s best coaching job ever at the University of Denver.

Soccer Ball 100Can DU men’s soccer (#18) overcome a 6-game fall road trip gauntlet with a winning record and gain momentum heading into the Summit League season? In a short 16 day stretch, August 30th through September 15th, they play road contests against Washington, Seattle, Indiana, Notre Dame, Stanford, and California. But why question the mad scientist Jamie Franks? He is an astounding 61-12-10 as head coach at DU.

Soccer Ball 100Can the Summit favorite Denver women’s soccer team duplicate last season’s results when they won both the Summit League regular season and conference tournament titles for the first time since 2013? With the return of their top three leading scorers Samantha Feller, Camryn McMillan and Hannah Adler and senior goalkeeper Brittany Wilson, expect the Pioneers to have another great season. Despite the elimination of the Colorado Cup for the best in-state collegiate women’s program this season, Denver still faces regional powers CU and CSU in the nonconference play as they tune-up for another title run.

Hockey100Though they’re more of a winter sport, DU Hockey’s 70th anniversary season starts in just less than two months. For now, we ask can DU hockey match last year’s fast 5-0-1 start with early games against Alaska Fairbanks, Lake Superior State, and Boston College (homecoming) – all games in the first 19 days of October? Denver’s undefeated record in nonconference games last year helped the Pioneers earn a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Now, the question is, can David Carle’s crew follow the same fast-start formula this season?

Be sure to watch for hockey “beat reporter” and managing editor Nick Tremaroli’s full hockey season preview coming next month.

One thought on “Four Burning Questions for Denver Fall Athletics”

  1. Great questions. Here is my take on the answers:

    1) No. I’m no volleyball expert, but I don’t think DU will be able to duplicate the NCAA appearances of the last five years. The depth of talent just doesn’t seem to be there this year, and some of the other Summit schools are catching up to DU, as the Pios found out last season in the Summit League tourney. Look for this season to be a step backwards, and a rebuilding year.

    2) No. DU lost a ton of players (12?) from last year’s team including the best scorer in DU history, and even some strong starting underclassmen are not on the roster this year. Gideon Davis? Jared Jungjohann? What happened there? With the exceedingly brutal road schedule DU has this year, and the rebuilding they must do, it seems very unlikely they emerge from the first six games with a winning record. Seems to me that the Pios will probably not finish in the top 20 this year at all, given all the new faces in the lineup.

    3) Yes. DU should dominate the Summit this year in women’s soccer and should be a threat to cause some havoc in the NCAAs, too. This is a very good team coming back, and a lot of early home games should build some confidence for them.

    4) Yes. Another 5-0-1 start is doable, even with four straight road games to start the season. Pioneer hockey should be a top 5 team all season long, as they are deep and experienced at every position. They are superior in talent to the first three teams they will face, and a sweep of UAF on the road, a sweep of Lake State on the road and get a win and tie with BC at home is well within their grasp.

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