Sophomore forward Andre Shinyashiki (Sao Paulo, Brazil) secured the 2-1 victory for the No. 6-seeded DU Pioneers with his header in the 25th minute of the match against the No. 11-seeded University of Washington (UW) Huskies on Nov. 26 at CIBER Field. With a conversion in each half, Denver held a 2-0 lead. The relentless Huskies cut the deficit down to one with 12 minutes remaining in regulation, but the esemplastic Pioneers triumphed the win.
“It feels great to be here. We’re excited,” said head coach Jamie Franks. “We’ve been working for two hard years for this.”
Leading goal scorer, Shinyashiki, scored his eighth of the season and fifth game winner off of a free kick. Redshirt junior midfielder Karsten Hanlin (Centennial, Colorado) lofted the ball to the near post connecting with Shinyashiki’s run. Shinyashiki directed his header to the low right side, doubling Denver’s lead 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining in regulation.
“The feeling was amazing. You just can’t describe it,” Shinyashiki said.
A physical first half established tensions as the Pioneers and Huskies battled. Washington committed four fouls against Denver.
Denver managed to maintain composure, outshooting the Huskies 10-2 and and earning six corner kicks. Denver’s backline protected the defensive third enough to ensure that few threatening shots reached goalkeeper redshirt sophomore Nick Gardner (Marvin, North Carolina). Gardner would finish the night with four total saves.
“We’re process oriented. We try to focus on everyday and get better. We’re focused on one thing and that’s getting to Houston,” said Franks.
Redshirt sophomore Chandler Crosswait (Bedford, Texas) calmed the Pioneers’ frustrations with his conversion in the 25th minute of the first half. Redshirt sophomore Reagan Dunk’s (Dallas, Texas) run down the right flank earned a corner for the Pioneers. Crosswait finished on a deflection made by junior centerback Kortne Ford’s (Greeley, Colorado) initial volley. Three of Denver’s last five goals have been converted on free-kicks.
The Huskies continued to amplify their intensity, testing the Pioneers skill and poise. Junior left defender AJ Fuller (Littleton, Colorado) fouled a Washington forward resulting in a penalty kick for Washington. Husky Steven Wright scored on the penalty kick to cut Denver’s lead down to one. The Huskies outshot the Pioneers 15-6 in the second half.
Denver will face the winner of No. 3-seeded Clemson University and No. 14-seeded University of Albany who meet Sunday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. ET. Whomever has the higher seed between Denver and the winner of Clemson and Albany will host the quarterfinal match on Friday, Dec. 2.