The #2 Denver Pioneers topped the Lake Superior State Lakers in the opening game of the weekend’s two game series in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Denver had to overcome a first period 1-0 deficit with goals from Ian Mitchell (2nd of the year), Emilio Pettersen (1st), and Jaakko Heikkinen (1st). Magnus Chrona notched his third straight solid performance with 23 saves on 24 total shots and the penalty kill remained perfect on the year.
There will be more on this game come Sunday morning in our road weekend recap. What are your thoughts on this game?
Denver’s Bailey Heller (#4 at left) scored his first college goal with 10 minutes left in the game — the game-winner against Pacific, and earned a joyous celebration from his DU teammates. Photo: Jason Evans for LetsGoDU
Sometimes, the Soccer Gods can be cruel to our opponents, too.
In a very ugly defensive game that Denver frankly didn’t deserve to win, the Pioneers were able to do just enough on a pair of set pieces to sneak away with a 2-1 victory over the gutty and spirited University of the Pacific Tigers, before just over 500 fans at DU Soccer Stadium on this sunny October 6th afternoon.
DU redshirt Sophomore Bailey Heller’s half-volley game-winning goal in the 80th minute provided the thin margin of victory and the DU win was only the third in this brutal season to date. The Pioneers (3-6-2) were badly outplayed for much of the game by Pacific (3-7-1) from the West Coast Conference, who controlled the possession all afternoon, and outshot DU, 13-7 in the first-ever soccer game between the two schools. Continue reading DU Men Escape With Lucky 2-1 Victory Over University of the Pacific Tigers→
As DU has found out this season, the Soccer Gods can be cruel.
There were 632 fans watching at DU soccer stadium on this sunny Saturday afternoon, but most of them went home disappointed as the Pioneers could not manage to score a goal on a depleted Eastern Illinois team, as DU tied the Panthers, 0-0 in the Summit League opener for both teams.
DU dominated the game, taking 27 shots, with eight of them on goal and earning 64% ball possession, with EIU only managing 3 shots and none of them on goal. But alas, with only a total of four Denver goals scored in the eight DU games played so far this season, the Pioneers’ offensive inability to finish killed DU’s chances for a victory once again.
“We need more urgency from this group,” said DU head coach Jamie Franks of his team after the game to Pioneer Vision. “Only 38 more days of this season is guaranteed…We need our leaders to step-up, and we need everyone to step-up…We need to score goals.”
With the draw, DU fell to 1-5-2 on the season, while EIU fell to 3-3-1.
Some of the Pioneers’ best chances came late as DU pushed extra hard for a game-winner in overtime, as DU took all 10 shots in the extra sessions, including a header from junior Josh Drack that hit the EIU crossbar.
The Panthers, who played most of the latter 50 minutes of game time with 10 men and also had a second player red-carded in the 86th minute to play with nine men for the final 24 minutes, hung-on gamely to achieve the draw with the more talented Pioneers. The Panthers were led by eight saves from redshirt Sophomore goalie Jonathan Burke.
DU now faces another travel stretch, with five of its next six games coming on the road as the Pioneers try put themselves into position to finish in the top four in the Summit League in order to play in the League tournament here in Denver in November.
DU will jump on a plane to face a different Panther team next, as the Pioneers travel to the University of Pittsburgh (ACC) for a Monday night game.
This loss will be one the University of Denver Pioneer Men’s Soccer team will remember for a long time as eighth-ranked Southern Methodist University foiled DU’s late upset bid, ripping out the Pioneers’ heart with a game-tying goal in the final 2 minutes, then flat-out eating the Pioneers’ heart with a game-winner in overtime, 2-1 on Sept. 21 in Denver. The SMU win exacted revenge on the Pioneers for last year’s 1-0 Denver win over the Mustangs in Dallas.
Things were looking really good for DU as the second half clock ticked down in a tight game. DU’s Josh Drack had just scored a pretty go-ahead goal for the Pioneers with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation time, against the run of play in the second half, and the Pioneers were suddenly leading #8th ranked SMU, delighting a large crowd of over 1500 fans at DU soccer stadium on “Bark-in-the-Park” night home opener.
But with the big upset seemingly just within the Pioneers’ grasp, the DU wheels came off in the final two minutes of regulation, as SMU’s Garrett McLaughlin poked-home a game-tying goal with just 1:25 left in regulation in a goal-mouth scrum, forcing overtime at 1-1.
And once again, DU found a way to lose on overtime this season, letting SMU’s leader Eddie Munjoma dance free for a rocketing shot that beat DU goalie Will Palmquist to win the game for the Mustangs in the third minute of overtime.
SMU had dominated the second half of the contest, out shooting DU 12-3 after DU was better in the first half, as DU missed some strong chances to score early in the contest.
SMU improved to 7-0-0 on the season, and the Pioneers fell to 1-5-1.
In some disappointing news, the University Denver has fallen an additional slot from #96 to #97 in yesterday’s (Sept. 9) release of the annual US News and World Report Ranking of National Universities, the most well-known US university ranking system. The fall marks yet another downward notch in a near-continuous DU backslide since 2012 when DU ranked #82, and brings DU another step closer to falling out of the top 100 altogether. Continue reading DU falls to #97 in US News Rankings; Continues 8-Year rankings backslide→
DU’s Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation Karlton Creech has reorganized the athletic department’s structure after 17 months of observing DU’s high-performing athletic division. The changes come following the long-planned retirement of Ron Grahame, Creech’s principal deputy, who is retiring this week after decades of service to DU.
Joining DU will be three new faces — former Maine Senior Associate Director of Athletics Lynn Coutts; former Miami (Fla.) Senior Associate Athletic Director for Administration Josh Boone; and former Miami (Fla.) Assistant Athletic Director for Annual Giving Emily Boone. Two of these three new faces (Coutts and Josh Boone) will be on Creech’s senior team, along with several promoted DU veteran leaders taking on greater roles under Creech, specifically Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Revenue Officer Brandon Macneill, Deputy AD and Chief Operating Officer Stu Halsall and Deputy AD for Community and Diversity Bob Willis. Continue reading Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: Creech Reorganizes DU Athletics Division→
In July of 2019, Mike Christie, a former Pioneer and NHL hockey player passed away at age 69 following a long battle with chronic kidney disease. Christie played three seasons with the Pioneers from 1969-1972, where he helped lead the Crimson & Gold to back-to-back Frozen Four appearances and WCHA championships as an all-American player. He then went play 412 NHL games in a pro career that extended to 1981. He later helped to promote youth hockey in Colorado in his post hockey career in the golf equipment business.
Christie was always a proud Pioneer, and we’re expecting a good crowd of former Pioneers from multiple hockey eras to attend the celebration of Christie’s life, to be held on Thursday, Aug. 29 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Meridian Golf Club (9742 South Meridian Blvd in Englewood) with a program beginning at 6 p.m. Appetizers and a cash bar will be provided. In lieu of flowers, the family requests considering making a donation to the National Kidney Foundation in Christie’s memory.
In a move that was long expected, Purdue University-Fort Wayne (branded as ‘Fort Wayne’) will leave the Summit League for the Horizon League in the midwest, in July of 2020. The Mastodons were the last team in the Summit League in the Eastern time zone. The move will leave the Summit with nine full members, including DU, once Missouri-Kansas City rejoins the league in July of 2020.
“Purdue Fort Wayne and [it’s] athletic administrators have been very upfront about exploring a possible transition to a conference more reflective of their geographic footprint,” said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple in a league statement. “This move did not catch anyone in our league off guard and Purdue Fort Wayne’s transparency throughout the process was appreciated…”We will continue the efforts to explore expansion and create new membership options, similar to the recent addition of the University of Missouri Kansas City. Membership changes cause short-term disappointment, but in the long term, our league and its members will continue to prosper and meet the challenges placed in front of them.” Continue reading Purdue-Fort Wayne Leaving Summit League in July, 2020→