DU’s Fall teams returned home this past weekend with mixed results. Women’s soccer (3-4-1) was coming off three straight road losses and fell 2-0 to the Colorado Buffaloes at home. Men’s soccer (1-5-1) also returned to CIBER Field for their home opener needing a confidence-building win against #8 SMU – and fell in a gut-wrenching 2-1 OT loss. Women’s volleyball (8-4) had dropped three consecutive matches, all on the road, but won a 5-set barn burner in Hamilton Gym against Santa Clara on Friday night and cruised by Montana the next day in three straight games.
What have we learned about these three teams? And, what are DU’s prospects heading into Summit league play?
- Each of the three programs played difficult non-conference schedules against nationally-ranked teams.
- At this point, none of the three teams are playing at a level that they can consistently defeat Top 20 programs in their respective sports.
- Despite some tough losses, these games/matches are measuring sticks for coaches and players to identify their strengths and areas for improvement.
- There are inherent risks in playing a difficult non-conference schedule, especially on the road, as a mid-major. Did any of DU’s squads suffer damage to their confidence in several tough losses that can, potentially, carry-over to conference play? Time will tell.
- None of these three teams will breeze through the Summit League play this season like they have in the past and, even if they do, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a one-and-done NCAA appearance.
That being said, expect Summit League conference play to be an exciting dogfight this season with Denver in the hunt for conference championships in all three sports yet again.
Give head coaches Jeff Hooker, Jamie Franks, and Tom Hogan credit for their willingness and belief in their squads to test them against some of the best programs in the nation. All three coaches have proven in-season consistency and improvement in the past so there is no reason to think that these squads will not grow over the next two months – and compete for conference championships yet again.
The week ahead
Denver women’s soccer – This week DU takes a 2-game California road swing to complete non-conference play against UC Riverside on Thursday and Cal State Northridge on Sunday.
Denver Men’s Soccer – Starts Summit League play Saturday at 1:00 pm against Eastern Illinois at CIBER Field.
Denver Women’s Volleyball – Starts Summit League play on the road against Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday and Oral Roberts on Sunday.