The men’s soccer team lost to Omaha in the Summit League Final on Nov. 11, after a 1-1 draw and 11 rounds of penalty kicks. Summit League Defender of the Year, redshirt junior Scott DeVoss (Centennial, Colo.) gave Denver its only goal of the game in the 26th minute. After playing for 110 minutes and remaining at a 1-1 tie, the game moved to a penalty shootout, where Omaha ultimately outshot Denver 9-8.
On Thursday, Nov. 9 redshirt senior Blake Elder (Fort Worth, Texas) scored in the 39th minute to send the Pioneers to the Summit League Final with a 1-0 win over Eastern Illinois. With the win, the Pioneers advanced as the number one seed into the finals. They played against the number three seed, Omaha.
On Saturday, the first goal and only goal for the Pioneers came early in the match, in the 26th minute from Summit League Defender of the Year, redshirt junior Scott DeVoss. Summit League Newcomer of the Year Jacob Stensson (Stockholm, Sweden) played a set piece from the right corner of the field inside of Denver’s attacking half. The ball was headed over the Omaha goalie by redshirt sophomore Ryan Barlow (Coppell, Texas) and DeVoss was the first to the ball to finish the play.
In the 28th minute, Omaha equalized after converting from the penalty spot.
Denver outshot Omaha 11 to 10 during the 110 minutes of play, with 6 shots on target.
During the shootout, Denver shot first, making all of their first four kicks. Senior co-captain Alex Underwood (Winnetka, Ill.), redshirt sophomore Shae Smalley (Colombus, Ohio), senior co-captain Graham Smith (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Stensson made their kicks. However, Omaha made their first four kicks as well. After Denver’s fifth penalty was stopped, freshman keeper Will Palmquist (Denver, Colo.), who was subbed in for the shootout, made his first save to keep Denver in the game. Seniors AJ Fuller (Littleton, Colo.) and Kyle Morlack (Goodyear, Ariz) converted their shots before the eighth shot was stopped. In rounds nine and ten, seniors Blake Edler (Fort Worth, Texas) and Barlow made their shots, but Omaha answered each time to send the shootout to the 11th round, where the order reset. Omaha blocked Underwood’s shot, and Palmquist guessed the right direction but missed the ball, sending Omaha to its first Summit League title.
Despite not winning the title they had hoped for, the Pioneers swept four major awards at the Summit League Banquet, as well as having players named to the Summit League First Team and Summit League Second Team.
Junior striker, Andre Shinyashiki (Sao Paulo, Brazil) was named the Summit League Offensive Player of the Year, DeVoss won the Summit League Offensive Player of the Year, Stensson claimed the Newcomer of the Year award and Head Coach Jamie Franks was named Head Coach of the Year.
Shinyashiki led the Summit League with 22 points with a tied league high of nine goals and four assists. Two of his goals are game-winning goals. Shinyashiki is the second Pioneer to be named offensive player of the year (Zach Bolden, 2013), and was named Offensive Player of the Week three times this year. Shinyashiki was also recently named to the Top Drawer Soccer Midseason Top 100 along with Underwood.
DeVoss helped lead the Pioneer defense that lead the league in shutouts (7), least amount of goals allowed (13) and goals against average (0.74). He has started all 17 games and produced five shots, collecting a Defensive Player of the Week award in October.
Stensson helped the Pioneers to a 10-6-1 overall record. He had three assists this season, all in Summit League play. He is the second Pioneer to win the award after Shinyashiki.
Franks won his third consecutive Coach of the Year award after leading the Pioneers to their second perfect league record, at 5-0-0. He has led the Pioneers to an unbeaten league record in the Summit League for the last three seasons.
Smith, Shinyashiki, DeVoss and Stensson were named to the Summit League first team, while Underwood and Fuller were voted to the Summit League Second Team. Stensson was also named to the All- Newcomer Team.