Hannah Adler scores Denver’s first goal. Photo: Courtesy Jason Evans
Denver had an unsteady first 15 minutes, shaking the early-game jitters out against #11 (Top Drawer) Texas. But from that point forward, the Pioneers played tight defense and pushed the ball into the Longhorns end. Denver used a goal from Hannah Adler in each half to build a 2-0 lead and coasted to a 3-0 final at CIBER Field Thursday night. This was DU women’s soccer first win at home over a ranked opponent since 2003, when DU defeated #3 Portland.
After both teams settled down in the early going, Denver scored a bang-bang goal at 29:24 of the first half from Hannah Adler to gain the 1-0 advantage over the Longhorns. That goal seemed to give DU confidence as DU began pressing the Longhorns into errors and poor shots from distance. The half ended 1-0, Denver. But the best was yet to come.
Any thoughts of Denver falling into a defensive shell were dispelled as Denver came out of their locker room brimming with confidence. Denver was rewarded with a second half strike by Hannah Adler again, assisted by Camryn MacMillan and Meg Halvorson at 53:20. On her second tally, Adler said, “I could feel it coming off my foot. I had a lot of time. I knew where I wanted to place it so I knew that one was going in. I was really excited about that one.” And it gave Denver even more confidence to push the ball into the Longhorn end. As Texas became more desperate, DU’s defense clamped down forcing shots from distance and errant passes. Samantha Feller buried the final dagger for the Pioneers with help from Sydney Sharp and Cheyenne Shorts at 70:22. Denver played workman like soccer the final 20 minutes, playing solid defense and making offensive forays into the Longhorns defensive zone.
🚨 UPSET 🚨
— NCAA Soccer (@NCAASoccer) August 30, 2019
After the game, head coach Jeff Hooker told LetsGoDU about his thoughts on the match. “First, getting a shutout against a team of this quality. Two, we were a really good soccer playing team tonight – finding space, finding holes, finding gaps that we thought we could exploit and a great job of the final pass being the right one. Our finishing was marvelous today.”
On beating a ranked opponent, Adler was quick to praise her team, “It was a great team effort tonight – I am really excited for the rest of the season.”
Denver, 2-0-1, plays Kent State 7:00 pm MT Saturday at CIBER Field.