Category Archives: Men’s Soccer

Can DU Men’s Soccer really win a national title?

Jamie Franks believes his team “is built for knockout soccer…we have a team that can win this tournament.” Despite DU’s ascension into the top tier of NCAA soccer programs, according to Franks, “no one believes us” except his team.

Should we believe him? Is there any rational reason to  expect Denver to compete for a national championship this year against the country’s traditional soccer powers? The last couple years under Franks have been incredible, but let’s face it, this is uncharted territory for the University of Denver. Continue reading Can DU Men’s Soccer really win a national title?

Denver tops UNLV, wins first NCAA Tournament game since 1970

Head coach Jamie Franks had one pregame message for his Pioneers: “One year! You’ve been waiting one year for this!” Almost exactly one year ago, the University of Denver Pioneers lost their NCAA Tournament Second Round match to SMU on a heartbreaking goal in extra time. Franks made sure his players didn’t forget when he reminded them right before kickoff of this year’s second round match against the UNLV Rebels. Continue reading Denver tops UNLV, wins first NCAA Tournament game since 1970

Pio Soccer will face UNLV in NCAA Tournament in Denver, Sunday at 5pm

12259797UNLV’s Oscar Velazquez had the game winning PK for UNLV in the Eighth Round. Photo Credit: UNLV

The Pioneer Soccer team learned its opponent for Sunday’s Second Round NCAA Men’s Soccer Game – The UNLV Rebels.

UNLV advanced over host San Diego State in the first round game Thursday on the basis of 6-5 penalty kick advantage after eight rounds of PKs finally produced a winner, following a 1-1 OT tie at SDSU’s Sports Deck. UNLV will meet at sixth-overall national seed DU on Sunday at 5 pm (MT) at Ciber Field at DU.

UNLV has a losing record of 10-11-2 on the season, but had advanced to the NCAA tournament by winning the WAC tournament auto bid over Air Force, 2-1. The Rebels moved their unbeaten streak to five games to improve to 10-11-2 on the year, while SDSU saw its season end at 9-4-6.

The Pioneer coaches scouted the SDSU/UNLV game in San Diego.

PUCK SWAMI: This is the Golden Age of Denver Pioneer Sports — Right Now!

1911-murad-cardUniversity of Denver Murad College Series trading card, circa 1909 – from the personal collection of Puck Swami

Ponder this:

DU Hockey is unbeaten in its last eight games and just ascended to #1 in the country for the first time since 2010, coming off an NCAA Frozen Four berth in 2016.

DU Men’s Soccer is regular-season unbeaten for two years, something that hasn’t been done in D-I soccer in nearly 40 years by any team.  The Pios are now ranked in the top 5 in the country and start NCAA tournament play at home this weekend as the sixth overall seed out of the 48 teams in the tourney (and over 200 D-I teams overall playing the sport).

DU Men’s Lacrosse, coached by the greatest lacrosse coach of all time, starts up in a couple of months and will ranked as a top 5 team in the country.  Duke, North Carolina and Notre Dame are all coming to Denver this year for the greatest home schedule in DU History, all bathing in the afterglow of the 2015 NCAA Championship season.

DU Skiing starts up soon  — as the defending NCAA Champion for the 23rd time in history and THE dominant program in the history of the sport at the college level.

I could go on and on with even more excellent current DU sports, more hardware accomplishments and more national rankings, but for a little school in the Rockies with 5,500 undergrads that only restored all sports to Division I less than 20 years ago, we’re doing pretty damn well, thank you very much. In fact, in the 150 plus years that DU’s been around, our sports program, taken as a whole, HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER.

For those of us old farts who have been following Pioneer sports for 30 years or more, this is a very unique moment in time that is nothing short of an incredible, astonishing achievement.  We can remember well the dingy days of the 1980s — when our school was $12 million in debt, deferred maintenance topped $40 million, and DU was in danger of going under. Our campus was a muddy mess with no names on the buildings. Many of our DU teams of that era competed in obscurity against NAIA schools you’ve never heard of, playing on patchy fields and in 40 year old WWII surplus buildings that were once condemned. The very suggestion of being NCAA Division I in all sports would get you laughed at back then, rather than admired, as it is today.

Today, our campus sparkles amid gorgeous facilities, and we’re not only D-I in all sports, but DU is the best D-I school without football in the country for years now, and we’re punching so far above our weight as an athletic power that it boggles the mind. Our athletes also graduate at a higher rate than the entire student body (90%), have a higher GPA (3.3) than the all-student average, and (knock on wood) avoid the police blotter, too.

The point here is that we can’t take all this for granted, folks…

There may come a time (perhaps too soon) when the big football schools with the big budgets move on from playing ‘mid-majors’ like us.  Or when financial pressures may someday limit DU’s athletic ambitions. Or when people stop coming to college sports events because there are just too many other things competing for people’s time and attention, which I already covered in another column here.

It’s time we get out to watch these great DU teams now, while we can ALL enjoy this Golden Age of DU Sports…and bring everyone you know!

Puck Swami is the Internet moniker of a long-time DU fan and alumnus. He shares his views periodically here at 

#6 Denver to Play NCAA Second Round @ CIBER Field Sunday

Photo: Compliments of twitterDenver M Soccer@DU_MSoccer. Players watch party at Snarf’s on Evans Avenue.

The University of Denver, one of two undefeated team in this year’s NCAA Soccer Tournament, is slated to play Sunday at 5:00 MT at CIBER Field against the winner of the UNLV vs. San Diego State first-round match. The #1 seed, Maryland, is 18-0-2.

Early forecast calls for partly cloudy with mid-sixties during the day dropping to 40 at night.

Continue reading #6 Denver to Play NCAA Second Round @ CIBER Field Sunday

Denver takes care of Omaha, wins the Summit

Finally, it had happened. Despite being outplayed throughout the game, the University of Nebraska-Omaha (10-5-4) made the most of their opportunity and were positioned to win a league championship against the University of Denver. It started when a free kick by the Mavs Fazlo Alihodzic met the head of Jacob Weiler and nestled into the Denver goal in the 57th minute. All the Mavs had to do was hold off a charging Denver team who were unable to create a goal the first 70 minutes of the game.

But DU found another gear. Continue reading Denver takes care of Omaha, wins the Summit

Rubber Match Pits Pios vs. Mavs in Showdown with NCAA Implications

The two best teams in the Summit League meet Saturday at 1:00 PM MT @ CIBER Field for the Summit League Championship. The incentive for both teams to win is pretty clear: the winner of the game earns the Summit League’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. On top of that, with a win, the #4 Pioneers, would have a chance to earn home-field advantage for the NCAA Tournament. Continue reading Rubber Match Pits Pios vs. Mavs in Showdown with NCAA Implications

Quiet Weekend in Review

Photo: DU’s campus was quiet with only one home match – women’s volleyball.

Women’s Volleyball

DU women’s volleyball (19-6, 11-2 Summit) faced Oral Roberts at Hamilton Gym. ORU had dumped the Pioneers 3-2 a month earlier in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hamilton Gym had a good crowd and the DU pep band added to the environment as the Pioneers were never threatened in a 3-0 pay-back victory. Continue reading Quiet Weekend in Review

Pioneers Stun Portland in 2nd OT behind Shinyashiki

Photo: Pioneers warm-up for the visiting Portland Pilots

While the night was played even-up on the scoreboard through two halves and two overtimes, #6 Denver (15-0-3) played the aggressor. As time wound down in the 2nd OT, Portland (11-4-1) seemed content to fall back and play for the draw on the pressing Pioneers. Then, suddenly, with less than three minutes to go in the game, DU’s Andre Shinyashiki owned the moment with an incredible double move and golden goal leading the Pioneers to a heart stopping 2-1 win in double OT. Continue reading Pioneers Stun Portland in 2nd OT behind Shinyashiki