Photo: DU’s Jocob Stensson takes a corner kick against Oral Roberts
Denver and Omaha upset #2 seed Oral Roberts and #1 seed Western Illinois, respectively, to advance to the Summit League Men’s Soccer Championship final Saturday 2:00 pm MT at CIBER Field.
DU’s Josh Drack gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick at 24:10 of the first half after the teams played even during a hard-fought physical contest. For the game, DU out-shot the Golden Eagles 11 to 6 and the visitors could not solve Denver keeper Will Palmquist. ORU had several solid chances to score in the match but were unable to find the back of the net. Denver generated a breakaway in the waning seconds of the game and a DU player was tackled by the ORU keeper Miles Motakef for a penalty in the box. Jacob Stensson buried the PK with 3-seconds left to make it a 2-0 final.
It was a physical contest with three yellow cards given to each side. There were 17 total corner kicks during the match but neither team could deliver on numerous set pieces and corners.
Omaha defeated a pesky Western Illinois side 3-2 in extra time. The Mavericks opened the scoring in the 29th-minute when Mitch Hammer scored on a back-heel pass from Junior Noutoua. With Omaha holding a 1-0 lead, Western Illinois’ Paul Kirdorf was sent off after receiving a red card in the 41st-minute of the first half. But, the shorthanded Leathernecks were still able to take a 2-1 lead deep into the second half. Omaha finally countered with 12 minutes remaining to draw the score even – 2-2. The match went to extra time. Three minutes into OT, Hammer found a diving Pep Mateu for a goal and Omaha’s first victory in seven overtime contests this season. The final, 3-2 OT, Omaha.
Denver (5-11-3, 2-2-1 Summit League) and Omaha (4-8-4, 2-2-1 Summit League) go into the Summit League final with sub-500 records and a chance to redeem seasons that have fallen below expectations for both sides.