A Gritty Road Win, a Title, a Sweep, and a Split Highlight Weekend Action

As we told you, Denver hockey (3-1-0) lost a game 4-3 to Providence Friday night. However, the team rebounded the next evening with a comeback 4-3 win against Boston College at the raucous Conte Forum.

Against BC, Massimo Rizzo evened up the game 1-1 for Denver at 6:12 of the second period but the Eagles responded six minutes later to carry a 2-1 advantage into the final period. In the third, Connor Coponi drew the game even, 2-2, and six minutes later Tristan Broz gave DU the lead, 3-2. Once again, BC knotted the game three minutes later. With two minutes remaining, DU’s Carter King lit the lamp for the game winner, 4-3. Goaltender Matt Davis had 24 saves in the hard-fought win.

In other action, DU women’s soccer (9-2-5, 5-1-1), despite a bumpy two-match trip to the Dakotas, came away with at least a share of the Summit League regular season crown. DU men’s soccer (9-2-4, 5-0-1) earned a sweep with big wins against Omaha and St. Thomas at Pioneer field.

In an evenly fought women’s soccer match against North Dakota State on the road, the Bison’s Page Goaley found the back of the net at 68:45 and that is all NDSU would need for the win against Denver. Against North Dakota Saturday, the teams traded two goals each in the first half and one each in the final 45 minutes for the 3-3 draw. Freshman Liv Moritz and Kaitlyn Glover accounted for all of DU’s scoring. Denver secured, at minimum a tie for the Summit League Title, pending the results of the rescheduled South Dakota State-Omaha match.

Denver women’s soccer will host the Summit League tournament during homecoming weekend with matches Friday and Sunday.

Denver men’s soccer struggled against conference rival Omaha and relied on a Holger Olsson corner kick header at 42:55 to secure the hard-fought 1-0 win Wednesday night. Keeper Isaac Nehme made some huge saves for Denver in the match. On Saturday, DU buried St Thomas with three goals in the first 12 minutes en route to a 5-0 thrashing. Olsson got on the board in the first minute followed shortly theater by a tally from Aidan O’toole. An own-goal and another Pioneer goal shortly before half by Kyle McGowan added to the rout.

Denver men travel to Tulsa to play the Golden Eagles (4-0-2 Summit) Saturday in a big match with ORU fighting for the top spot against DU. Denver soccer will complete the regular season the following Saturday at Pioneer Field against UMKC.

DU volleyball (8-19, 7-3) won a tight match in Hamilton gym against North Dakota Thursday. Denver secured the first game but the Fighting Hawks pushed the match to a fifth game decider. Denver emerged from the fifth game, 15-10, with the victory. Cassie Davis led the Pioneers with 22 kills, Briley Decker earned 47 assists and Gianna Bartalo made 21 digs. Denver got swept at Fargo, 3-0, as NDSU eked out three close games. Denver scored 22 twice and 24 in extra points but it was not enough. Davis, Decker and Bartalo were category leaders for Denver again.

Next weekend is busy with Homecoming events including hockey vs Augustana and Air Force, Summit League women’s soccer championships at Pioneer Field, DU men’s soccer on the road in a possible regular season title-clinching match against ORU, volleyball at Hamilton Gym against St. Thomas Thursday and key rival South Dakota Saturday afternoon. It should be an exciting week for Denver Athletics.

7 thoughts on “A Gritty Road Win, a Title, a Sweep, and a Split Highlight Weekend Action”

  1. I see Air Force had Michigan St. visit them Oct.12-13. Why doesn’t DU get any Big 10 teams on their schedule?

    1. The quickest and easiest answer is B1G teams (aside from Notre Dame from time to time) won’t schedule DU (there was a 2-year agreement between DU and Wisconsin a few years ago but Covid killed the DU part of the agreement). In their minds, right or wrong, there is very little upside to playing DU whereas it’s a no-lose proposition from DU’s perspective. Calls are made every year and either the answer is always no or the call isn’t even answered. The main reason you saw Michigan State on Air Force’s home schedule is mostly because that scheduling agreement as signed before Michigan State became nationally relevant again.

      Believe me, if a B1G team would say yes to playing DU, a B1G team would be on the schedule.

  2. Nick, to your comment about B1G teams not scheduling Denver is definitely a head scratcher because they always seem willing to schedule games against UND, CC, and Duluth (just three teams that immediately come to mind. The Gophers are playing all three of those teams I just mentioned and Wisconsin just played UND in the ice breaker.

    I give DU a ton of credit-they don’t shy away from scheduling tough non-conference opponents, and aren’t afraid to travel to tough barns like Providence and BC. Good preparation for national tournament time.

    1. I’m just relaying what I’ve been told in the past. There isn’t exactly a good relationship between Bob Motzko and Denver, so I wouldn’t point to the lack of the Gophers, specifically, on DU’s schedule as an indication of anything.

      I can tell you, very confidently, is that if DU could schedule the likes of Michigan or Wisconsin (especially now) or even Minnesota, they would.

      But also, don’t forget, DU played Notre Dame last year in the Ice Breaker and again, they would have had Wisconsin on the schedule in 2020-2021 if not for Covid.

      You can’t lump DU together with UND and UMD, though, for scheduling purposes. When you have budgets to worry about, even in the cash-rich Big 10, a bus ride to risk a loss or two is a hell of a lot more appealing to a coach than a flight to risk a loss or two.

      Plus, even though there’s plenty of WCHA history between DU and those B1G teams (fans only care about whether it’s UMN, UMich, or Wisconsin when they complain about the schedule…they don’t actually care about Ohio State, Penn State, or Michigan State), I guarantee fans of those B1G teams care a lot more about the history between their teams and UND/UMD than they do their history with DU. So, if you’re prioritizing fans’ desires, they’re going to pick those teams to play over DU 10 times out of 10.

      The other thing that you have to remember with scheduling non-conference opponents is this – when you schedule and beat independents, you cast a wider Pairwise net because of the higher conference diversity of their opponents. Sweeping Alaska and hopefully sweeping ASU next month is going to pay higher Pairwise dividends than say, splitting with Michigan would be because of Alaska’s and ASU’s wider variety of opponents.

      Scheduling is very much an art, not a science, and coaches will (and should!) always prioritize a healthy blend of perennially tough teams/environments and higher conference diversity among opponents to maximize Pairwise impact come March over a few matchups that fans want.

      But again, I promise you, if Michigan or Minnesota (or Wisconsin now) would say yes, they’d be on the schedule in a heartbeat.

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