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Denver Clinches At-Least a Share of Fifth-Straight League Title

Oct. 28, 2017

Denver 2-1 Omaha (Hamzat 78’, Shinyashiki 90’, Smith 93’) | Donate | Denver Ticket Office

Highlights | Jamie Franks Postgame

DENVER – Junior striker Andre Shinyashiki (Sao Paulo, Brazil) equalized with 16 seconds left in regulation, and senior co-captain Graham Smith (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) converted a 93rd minute penalty to keep the University of Denver men’s soccer team in first place in the Summit League table with a 2-1 win over Omaha on Saturday night at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.

“I think it was pretty obvious what their tactics were coming in,” head coach Jamie Franks said. “They only had four shots, and were trying to slow the game down by disrupting play and wasting time. For us, a huge point at halftime was to not get frustrated by that and be resilient. The fact that we waited until there was 16 seconds left was a little concerning, but at the end of the day, their goalkeeper made a couple really good saves, and we missed a couple easy chances.

“My team grew up tonight. I think it was Alex Underwood that said, ‘we’re not going to lose this game.’ We’ve been missing that confidence and demand from eachother all season. I’m glad we found it tonight, because when we do have it, we’re a tough team to beat.”

After Denver outshot Omaha 8-2 in the first half, and was continuing to create the chances in the second, the visitors netted the opener against the run of play in the 78th minute when Emmanuel Hamzat scored his seventh goal of the season off a long-throw from Seth Rinderknecht.

The Pioneers continued to press for the equalizer, but had four shots turned aside by Omaha goalkeeper Joseph Ghitis. Finally freshman Jacob Stensson (Stockholm, Sweden) and senior co-captain Alex Underwood (Winnetka, Ill.) combined down the right channel. Stensson touched it around his defender and got a cross off near the end line, finding the head of Shinyashiki who beat his mark in the air and kissed it off the inside of the back post and in for his ninth goal of the campaign.

“It felt amazing, especially the way it happened, scoring with 16 seconds left against our biggest rivals in the league,” Shinyashiki said. “I was the guy that missed my man on their goal, so I felt that I needed to do that to help the team.”

Denver carried the momentum from the equalizer into extra time, and were ultimately rewarded with a 93rd minute penalty to improve to 4-0-0 in the Summit League. Redshirt-senior Blake Elder (Fort Worth, Texas) took the ball off the feet of Shinyashiki in the area and hit a shot towards frame that hit the arm of Jacob Weiler in an unnatural position and referee Heber Estrada pointed to the spot. Smith converted his third goal of the season to propel the Pioneers to the victory in their final home match of the campaign.

The Pioneers finished the match with a 16-4 edge in shots. Denver needs just a point at Western Illinois next weekend to take both the top seed into the 2017 Summit League Championships, and the right to host the 2018 Summit League Men’s Soccer Championships.

Denver’s Division of Athletics and Recreation had a knack for late goals in a 26 hour span this weekend. On Friday night, women’s soccer striker Jessie Dancy scored with 17 seconds to go in regulation to send Denver past Fort Wayne. About an hour later, DU hockey’s Troy Terry ripped his game-winner into the net with 17 seconds left to beat No. 6 Boston College. On Saturday, Shinyashiki left his even later, heading in a cross to send Saturday’s match into extra time with 16 seconds left.

“The term here is Pioneer Nation, and that’s One Nation for us,” Franks said. “Just watching all the student-athletes feed off each other and hold each other accountable makes this place special. When you look at why it’s a special place, it’s because of the people. Our student-athletes are very disciplined and sacrifice a lot to be successful. Anyone that has worked in the Ritchie Center believes in the process, and that’s why I think you’re seeing all the success across the board in the athletic department.”

“Call it mojo, call it whatever you want, but it’s all about the process for our teams at DU,” Shinyashiki said. “All of our programs work really hard for moments like this to come.”

UP NEXT: Denver closes out the 2017 regular season next Saturday when the Pioneers head to Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. MT.

DENVER ATHLETICS TICKETS: For all Denver Athletics ticket inquires, call 303-871-GOAL (4625), or visit DenverPioneers.com.  

PIONEER MOVEMENT: Fans interested in making a donation to the men’s soccer program can do so by clicking here. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.  


 

 

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