PORTLAND, Ore. - University of Denver women's soccer junior forward Kristen Hamilton (Littleton, Colo.) netted her first-career hat trick in DU's 3-1 win over No. 15 (NSCAA)/No. 13 (Soccer America) Portland on Sunday at Merlo Field. The win stretches the Pioneers' unbeaten stretch to 10 matches.
"I thought we were able to keep the ball a lot better today than we have here in the past," head coach Jeff Hooker said on the Pioneers first win in Portland in four visits. "We didn't have to spend as much time chasing the ball around and defending. We did a great job of moving the ball around and being prepared for a match on the road in a historically tough place to play."
Portland (6-2-1) opened the scoring in the 17th minute on Kaila Cameli's sixth goal of the season, a shot from the top of the box off an assist from Micaela Capelle.
Denver (8-1-2) wasted no time getting the equalizer after the Pilots' early breakthrough, with Hamilton's goal into the right side netting in the 19th minute. Junior midfielder Nicholette DiGiacomo (Golden, Colo.) tallied her team-high fifth assist on the play.
The Pioneers took a 2-1 advantage into the intermission, thanks to a 38th-minute Hamilton header into the upper 90, off a cross from the boot of junior defender Cassidy Larson (Eldorado Springs, Colo.).
Hamilton's third goal came on a 17-yard strike into the top shelf off a through ball from senior forward Kaitlin Bast (Centennial, Colo.). After today's hat trick, Hamilton leads the Pioneers with seven goals this season.
"We knew coming out to Portland wasn't going to be an easy task," Hamilton said. "We showed a lot of character coming out here today and getting a 3-1 win. I'm proud of this team. We'll enjoy this win today, and start focusing on conference play tomorrow."
Senior goalkeeper Lara Campbell (Anchorage, Alaska) made five saves in her 53rd career victory.
"It's tough to play a game at home on Friday, hop on the plane the following morning to play a match today," Hooker said. "I was really proud of how well the team traveled this weekend, and they came here and took care of business today."
The victory is Denver's first over a ranked opponent since beating No. 1 Stanford five years ago today.
Denver will open Western Athletic Conference play for the first time in program history on Friday, as the Pioneers take on San Jose State at 7 p.m. MT.
Individual game tickets during the 2012 season are $10 for a reserved seatback and $5 for general admission, and may be purchased by phone at 303-871-2336, online at DenverPioneers.com or in person at the Ritchie Center Box Office. DU students are free with a Pioneer Card. For group ticket discounts of 20 or more, please call/e-mail Adam Sizemore at 303-871-2389.
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