Denver went 1-2-1 for Halloween weekend – a result that spooked even the hardiest of DU fans. In what was supposed to be a battle for conference titles and conference leads turned into a mixed bag of rotten caramel apples, toothbrushes, and stale Good & Plenty. It took a Halloween matinee yesterday by Denver Women’s Soccer to finally deliver a treat during the weekend homestand when they clinched their 12th conference title with a win over South Dakota State.
Denver Volleyball (18-3, 9-2) fell back two full games and a tie-breaker with a five-set loss (25-21, 25-27, 18-25, 25-23, 16-18) to Omaha at Hamilton Gym. A win would have drawn Denver into a first place tie. Seven matches remain but the Pioneers trail Omaha by two matches and Omaha owns the potential tiebreaker. Denver now travels to Tulsa to play ORU in a dangerous trap match this evening at 6:00 pm MT.
Men’s soccer (9-3-2, 4-1-0) had trouble finding the back of the net and lost to conference rival Omaha Saturday night, 2-0, leaving Denver’s regular-season title hopes to a road match against UMKC next Saturday. Denver controlled play against the Mavericks but the visitors came up with some timely goals. Denver’s offense is stuck in neutral with only two goals in their last three matches. UMKC is in fourth place and will be battling to maintain the final Summit League playoff spot so it should be a challenging match next Saturday.
After an unsatisfying 1-1 tie against South Dakota at Pioneer field on Friday, DU Women’s Soccer (12-5-1, 7-0-1) had to win their final match Sunday afternoon against South Dakota State to secure the top spot in the Summit League and earn their fourth straight conference title. A Sydney Sharp goal late in the first half gave Denver the lead and Natalie Beckman (who else?) scored the dagger 15 minutes into the second half. Denver peppered the Jackrabbits’ keeper with 18 shots and 8 shots-on-goal. The Pioneers will host the 2021 Summit League Women’s Soccer Championship next weekend, beginning on Thursday, November 4.
𝗥𝗢𝗖𝗞𝗬 𝗠𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗧𝗔𝗜𝗡 𝗛𝗜𝗚𝗛
A 𝔹𝕀𝔾 congrats to your 2021 #SummitWSOC Regular Season Champions, @DU_WSoccer‼️#ReachTheSummit x #SummitReaches40 pic.twitter.com/A7KHarxQ8V
— The Summit League (@thesummitleague) October 31, 2021
⚽️ 2021 #SummitWSOC Championship Bracket ⚽️
𝐻𝐸𝑅𝐸 𝒲𝐸 𝒢𝒪. See you four in Denver‼️
2⃣ South Dakota State
4⃣ South Dakota
🗞️: https://t.co/ZWLTfgX5bL#ReachTheSummit x #SummitReaches40 pic.twitter.com/CdNyY5rQVr
— The Summit League (@thesummitleague) October 31, 2021
DU Triathlon had their final ‘tune-up’ at the St. Goerge (UT) Qualifier and head to the national championships in two weeks in Tempe, Arizona. Freshman Freya McKinley earned a third-place finish at the St. George National Qualifier on Saturday afternoon at Quail Creek State Park, her third podium in the last three races. Two students, senior Grace Arlandson and freshman Bella Chirafisi had bike accidents and did not finish the event. Hopefully, the complete team will be healthy and ready to go in Tempe.
In other news, DU gymnastics schedule was released and DU will be hosting the Big 12 championships on March 19th, 2022 at Magness Arena. Basketball starts November 9th when both men’s and women’s basketball take on Regis and Air Force, respectively. Denver hockey takes to the ice against North Dakota in Grand Forks next weekend. It will be the Pios’ only two regular-season games against the Fighting Hawks this season.
One thought on “More Tricks than Treats for Denver Teams over Halloween Weekend”
It’s time for DU’s soccer and volleyball teams to find another gear here in November, as all three programs have slipped from once Summit-league dominant programs in those sports to simply league-competitive programs this season. Certainly, other Summit schools are improving, but they are doing so at the expense of the Pioneers. DU now needs to win the Summit League tourney championship outright in all three of those sports in order to gain admittance to the respective NCAA tourneys, as none of these three three programs have a high enough RPI to merit gaining at large NCAA bids.
I hate to see this, but almost all of DU sports seem to be in some level of decline over the past three years or so. Hockey fell off drastically last season and has had a mediocre start to this year so far, men’s basketball sits at NCAA rock bottom with a new coach and roster, women’s hoops battles to be mediocre, men’s lacrosse has fallen from a perennial final four program to now out of the NCAA top 10 programs, men’s and women’s soccer have both fallen back from previous NCAA heights, swimming painfully crashed and burned last year, women’s gymnastics and women’s lacrosse have both plateaued a little bit from where they were before Covid…etc.
I don’t think this can all be blamed on Covid, either. Other schools have dealt with Covid, too.
I do think there is likely some budgetary fall-off that DU is dealing with in the athletic dept. DU’s facilities are no longer new (and other schools are investing more in their facilities), and the DU players/coaches may not be as hungry as they once were, now that sports budgets seem to be static at best.
I think Chancellor Haefner, AD Karlton Creech and John Miller (future board chair) have their work cut out for them to get out of this relative malaise …It’s going to require some bolder thinking, new facilities plans, perhaps a new primary conference, and a higher level of institutional support for sports. Some of these things are likely in the works, but at the end of the day, DU is going to need to put more money into sports…