Shorthanded Denver Volleyball Rallies for Weekend Sweep

A reeling 3-5 DU volleyball team returned to Colorado playing three matches in The Thin Air Challenge against teams with a combined 21-7 record. The team was missing head coach Tom Hogan, out with testicular cancer, and the Pioneers’ interim head coach Jim Stone was out with Covid-19. The Pioneers were down to one coach, assistant Andrea Beaty, when they headed to Colorado Springs to face Air Force (7-2). The Pioneers assigned spot coaching duties to their players and Beaty led the Pioneers to a 3-0 win. The Pioneers returned to Hamilton Gym to face a 7-2 San Francisco squad. After undergoing chemotherapy, Hogan was able to return to the bench as an advisor for the home series. Once again, Beaty guided the Pioneers to a 3-1 win over the Dons. Denver concluded the tournament at Hamilton Gym against UC San Diego (7-4). Denver swept the Tritons to go 3-0 on the weekend and move back above .500 at 6-5.

Jordan Lockwood, a Pittsburgh grad transfer, led DU with 34 kills and 11 blocks in the three-game series. Hailey Green had 33 kills and 6 blocks. Gianna Bartalo had 39 digs for the Pioneers. Next up, Denver starts conference play with a road swing to South Dakota State Thursday (6 pm MT) in Brookings, S.D., and arch-rival South Dakota State in Vermillion, South Dakota on Saturday at noon MT.

After east and west coast road swings, #9/11 Denver men’s soccer (4-1-2) returned to Pioneer Field for a Top 20 showdown against the #15 Portland Pilots. Denver controlled the pace of play, outshooting the visitors 12-5 and possessing the ball for an astounding 62% of the game, but neither side could find a goal with the match ending in a draw for yet another result for the talented Pioneers side.

The Pios now face Oregon State Tuesday night at 7 pm MT at Pioneer Field before beginning Summit League play against Oral Roberts on Saturday night at 7:00 pm. Oral Roberts was selected to finish second, behind the Pioneers, in the preseason coaches poll so this should be an exciting start to conference play.

Denver women’s soccer (3-4-2) traveled to Boulder to play the Buffs. Denver controlled much of the game but CU played solid defense and held off Denver 2-0, despite trailing shots-on-goal 12-5. DU junior McKenna Dannenhauer bounced a shot off the right goal post in the Pioneers’ best opportunity to score.

Women’s soccer opens conference play this week at Pioneer Field against North Dakota State at 7:00 pm MT Friday night and Sunday at noon against North Dakota.

Elsewhere, in winter sports news, Denver Hockey announced that the banner-raising ceremony is planned for Homecoming weekend before the second game against Providence on Saturday, October 22nd. Hopefully, they will reconsider holding the ceremony before the game with a late arriving homecoming crowd. As some may recall, then-head coach Jim Montgomery was disappointed in 2018’s pregame championship banner-raising because many fans were still outside the building, either in line to get into Magness or still en route to the game, during the ceremony.

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