DU has formally announced its 2020 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
The ceremony will feature a return to campus by hockey head coach George Gwozdecky, one of Denver’s greatest coaches, who led DU to a pair of national championships, multiple NCAA appearances and an imposing 443-267-64 record in 19 years with the Pioneers between 1994 and 2013. The evening is sure to be a special one as ‘Coach Gwoz’ finally gets some of the eternal recognition that he so richly deserves as a legend in the Pioneer family. Continue reading Coach George Gwozdecky Headlines DU’s 2020 Hall of Fame Class Induction Event→
While men’s hockey and lacrosse take up the lion’s share of fan interest for most Pioneer fans, it’s important to recognize some otherDU athletic teams who continue to climb higher into national prominence and greater conference impact:
The 13th-ranked DU women’s lacrosse team beat its very first top five opponent since coach Liza Kelly took the helm in 2006, upsetting (#6/#4) Stony Brook (N.Y.) University, 11-7, behind Bea Behrins’ three-goal hat trick. This was a statement win for the program. The Pios have been a top-20 program for a while now, but have had trouble beating the very top echelon teams. Sunday’s win over SBU kept DU undefeated at 4-0 and may see the Pioneers knocking on the door of a top-10 ranking. The Michigan Wolverines come to town this Tuesday to face the surging Pioneers for a 12 noon start.
The sixth-ranked DU women’s gymnastics team scored its second highest all-time score (and the highest score of this season) with a 197.725 on Sunday afternoon before over 4,000 fans at Magness Arena, to win the meet over Iowa State and Boise State. This kind of scoring should keep DU in the hunt for a top-five national ranking as the season moves into the stretch run.
The DU men’s (#24th nationally) and (#47) women’s swim teams once again won the Summit League title for the sixth year in a row. DU was so dominant at the Summit League Championships that the DU women set an all-time league record for points, and DU mens and women swimmers won 37 of 38 of the swimming events overall. That’s an incredible achievement – perhaps the swimming equivalent of winning the Summit League basketball title game by 30 points, and repeating the winning margin for six straight years.
DU women’s basketball (15-12, 8-6 Summit league) continued its rise into a winning program with a dramatic road win at North Dakota. Often-injured senior Pioneer Haley Simental hit the long-range three point shot-of-her-college-career to send the game into overtime at the buzzer, in a game that the Pios would later win, 92-91. With the OT win, the Pios’ have earned at least a top-five seed at the Summit League tournament next month.
The DU women’s tennis team, ranked #40 nationally, are 7-2 this year in a sport where 317 teams compete nationally. DU has already defeated brand name schools such as Oregon, Wisconsin, BYU and Colorado this season.
All of these teams deserve our support, and we look forward to seeing how they compete in the coming months.
The University of Denver Men’s Soccer team has been not only selected for the NCAA tournament, but rewarded with a #15 seed, a bye in the first round, and will host the winner of Air Force and Central Arkansas at DU on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 pm MT.
If the Pioneers should win that home game, they will face the winner of #2 seed Indiana University’s pod of Indiana, University of Connecticut or the University of Rhode Island in the third round. The full NCAA bracket is here: http://www.ncaa.com/brackets/soccer-men/d1/2018
There was certainly some concern last night that DU might not get to host an NCAA tourney game this season, as its RPI had fallen to #17 on the evening of tournament selection (only 16 teams are seeded, the other 32 at-large teams play each other for the right to advance to one of the 16 seeded home sites), but fortunately for DU, the NCAA tournament committee did not use straight RPI to seed the tournament.
In looking ahead, Air Force, with an at large bid, is the far better of the two teams (RPI#26) when compared with Central Arkansas (#67). However, Air Force is not playing well right now, having lost its last two games to Grand Canyon (#53 RPI).That said, Air Force being only an hour from the DU campus would likely bring more fans to DU for the game than Central Arkansas, the Champion of the Missouri Valley Conference.
For the Pioneers, it is likely that Sunday’s game will be the last home field opportunity to watch Senior Andre Shinyashiki play for DU.Shinyashiki’s 28 goals this season leads the nation by wide margin, and he may be enjoying the finest season ever for a DU athlete in any sport.He is one of the favorites for the Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s national equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in football or the Hobey Baker award in college hockey.Should Andre win that award, he could be considered DU’s finest athlete in the modern era, given that there are only 60 teams playing D-I hockey, where DU has two Hobey Baker Winners, Matt Carle in 2006 and Will Butcher in 2017, the only two DU team sports athletes to win a national MVP trophy. Since there are 206 teams playing D-I soccer, Shinyshiki’s achievement would be arguably greater than Carle or Butcher. DU has also had individual NCAA D-I champions in gymnastics (Nina McGee in 2016), swimming (Jack Kelso in 1962) and many in skiing over the years, but it could be argued that individual national MVP awards in team sports are greater achievements, since there are opponents directly trying to physically stop an athlete from achieving them, versus individual sports where the clock or judges’ scoring determines win or loss status.
While Shinyashiki’s achievements are spectacular this year, detractors argue that most of his goals have come against lower level opponents, and that against top-25 teams, Andre’s goal scoring is much rarer. Let’s hope Andre and DU score more goals in the coming weeks, and that DU can advance deep into the tournament.
In any event, all DU fans should come to the soccer game this Sunday to cheer on Andre and the Pioneers in the NCAA tournament.
The University of Denver homecoming weekend will be held Friday, October 20th and Saturday, October 21st.
Homecoming events are being held on the north end of campus between the Ritchie Center & Buchtel Boulevard to leverage an increased focus on DU athletics, especially the defending national champion hockey team. Locals can also use light rail to gain easy access to the weekend’s events. Continue reading University of Denver Homecoming details announced→
After a year that saw the University of Denver athletic department experience a few exciting firsts…and an astounding, much-needed eighth, the Pioneers, DU’s men’s sports specifically, were properly recognized for a strong showing over the course of the year. As Florida topped LSU in the Men’s College World Series earlier this week, the 2016-17 NCAA Division I calendar came to an end. After the dust settled and the points were tallied, the DU men finished in the top five, number four to be exact, of the men’s Capital One Cup standings for the first time ever. Continue reading Pioneers reach unprecedented heights, finish in top 5 of Capital One Cup standings→
Take in a University of Denver athletic event and you are likely to see some of the finest collegiate athletes in the country.
Exaggeration, you say? Hardly.
Denver fans love to boast about having the best teams in the land – but only one program can “win it all” in any given sport in any given year. An equally tough accomplishment is coaching and playing at a consistently high level. Continue reading Denver spoiled by individual riches→
At this very moment on Feb. 20, 2017, for the first time in history, our two flagship sports, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse, are both ranked #1 in the country in all the major polls of those two sports.
For our small private school in the Rockies with 5,500 undergrads and a budget 1/10th the size of some of the large D-I football powers, with our opponents spread out all over the country and requiring jet planes to get to 85% of DU away games, this is an astonishing, epic achievement.
Additionally, our men’s soccer team finished #3 in the country this fall. And our women’s gymnastics team is currently ranked #8 in the country, the highest the program has ever been ranked. And DU women’s lacrosse is undefeated this year and ranked #14/15 in the country. And our nationally ranked swim teams (#20 men’s and #26 women’s) just swept the podium in EVERY EVENT at the Summit League Championships last week.
I say all this because we need to take a moment to realize just how frickin’ good our athletics program is right now. No program in the country gets better performance for the buck than DU does. And now is the time to tell your friends from bigger schools that the Pioneers are on top of the country in two sports. Let’s hope both can end their seasons with a National Championship.
For those of us oldsters who remember the days when DU played hockey in a decrepit old WWII surplus naval drill hall and DU lacrosse played mostly clubs and small colleges on muddy fields in front of 50 people, we can only say how proud we are to see just how far DU has come as a national sports power.