Denver Gets New Life in 2-0 Victory Over Omaha

Denver (4-9-3, 2-2-1 Summit League) waited this season until it meant the most before rising up for a signature win against the Omaha Mavericks (3-8-3, 2-2-1 Summit League), 2-0, Saturday night in a must-win match.

Earlier in the day, Western Illinois 3-1 (Summit League) defeated Eastern Illinois (0-2-2). Combined with Denver’s win over Omaha tonight, the Pioneers moved into a playoff spot for the 4-team Summit League Playoffs to be held in Denver November 14th-16th. Denver can cement their playoff spot with a win at Fort Wayne (3-12, 0-3 Summit League) Saturday, November 9th.

Denver took advantage of their new found opportunity in what was a physical, chippy match with five yellow cards in the first half and nine in all. Both of Denver’s goals were on penalties. The first was at 22:00 of the first half Josh Drack was pulled down in the penalty area by Omaha’s Cole Nelson. Jacob Stensson took the penalty kick for Denver. His initial kick was rejected but he got the deflected shot off Omaha keeper Jeremy Pollard and stuffed it into the net for a 1-0 lead. The teams played fairly even the remainder of the first half but Denver controlled the ball and mid-field for much of the period.

Denver came out even stronger in the second half and controlled play at mid-field, winning 50/50 balls and generating scoring opportunities from the wings. Several excellent scoring opportunities were denied by some fantastic work in goal by Omaha’s Jeremy Pollard. From the 60th minute to the 68th minute Josh Drack had three solid shots on goal for Denver and Preston Judd had another. At 68:49, Omaha’s Cole Nelson picked up a hand-ball penalty in the box for the Mavericks, his second PK penalty of the night. DU’s Josh Drack buried the ball in the right corner of the goal to make it 2-0 Denver. Ugo Tritz relieved Omaha’s keeper Jeremy Pollard who may have suffered a concussion in the match at the 69:00 minute mark.  The Pioneers controlled play until ten minutes remained when they fell back into a defensive shell to closeout the game.

Soccer Omaha 2019 2
Soccer Alumni greeted the team as they left the CIBER Field.

Denver out-shot the Mavs 12 to 7 for the match. Omaha had 21 fouls to Denver’s 17 and the Mavericks had 6 of the 9 yellow cards.

After the game, Denver head coach Coach Jamie Franks was asked to explain the turnaround, “Well its getting cold – this is when games count. The kids have been getting better for three weeks. They have faced a lot of adversity but we are playing our best soccer (now).”

Denver has two non-conference matches against Duke (Tuesday-Ralegh Durham) and Rhode Island (Saturday, Nov. 2) over the next week before going on the road for their final conference match against Fort Wayne.

One thought on “Denver Gets New Life in 2-0 Victory Over Omaha”

  1. Well, the Pios got the job done, for now. Jamie Franks says the team is now playing its best soccer of the season, and we’ll see how well this 4-9-2 bunch can make something good out of what has been a horrific season.

    But DU still MUST beat Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne in two weeks, and then they MUST run the table in the Summit Tourney in Denver after that in order to salvage something of this season and make it to the NCAAs. That means earning three more wins against Summit League teams, and anything short of winning those three games vs. Summit League teams would be a failure.

    The remaining non-league games at Duke and hosting Rhode Island don’t really matter much as far as I am concerned. If DU should run the Summit table and squeak into the NCAAs, they are going to be sent to a highly-seeded opponent anyway.

    The Duke and URI games are merely tuneups for the next game that really matters – Nov. 9 in Fort Wayne.

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