Men's Soccer


[-/30] Denver Falls to Omaha on Penalties in the Summit League Final

Nov. 11, 2017

[1] Denver 1-1 [3] Omaha (DeVoss 26’, X. Gomez 28’ (pen)) | Photos

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OMAHA –Following a 1-1 draw, the top-seeded [-/30] University of Denver men’s soccer team fell to Omaha 9-8 in 11 rounds of penalty kicks in the Summit League Final Saturday afternoon at Caniglia Field.

Summit League Defender of the Year Scott DeVoss (Centennial, Colo.) gave Denver (11-6-2) the lead in the 26 minute off a set piece service from Summit League Freshman of the Year Jacob Stensson (Stockholm, Sweden). Stensson played the set piece from the right corner of the field just inside Denver’s attacking half, a ball that redshirt-sophomore Ryan Barlow (Coppell, Texas) won just outside the penalty spot. Barlow’s header went over the head of Omaha (10-5-3) keeper Joseph Ghitis, and it was DeVoss that was the first to the ball within a yard of the endline to finish the chance and put the Pioneers in-front.

Omaha quickly equalized 1:19 later when Xavier Gomez converted from the penalty spot to level the score at 1-1. Junior centerback Tosh Samkange (Sammamish, Wash.) tripped up Emmanuel Hamzat in the right side of the area, forcing referee Nikola Aleksic to point to the spot.   

Denver outshot Omaha 11-10 in the 110 minutes, putting six of its 11 shots on target.

Denver shot first in the penalty shootout, with the first eight kicks finding the back of the net. Senior co-captain Alex Underwood (Winnetka, Ill.), redshirt sophomore Shae Smalley (Columbus, Ohio), senior co-captain Graham Smith (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Stensson converted from the spot in the first four rounds.

After Denver had its fifth penalty stopped, freshman Will Palmquist (Denver, Colo.), who subbed on for Nick Gardner (Marvin, N.C.) for the shootout, made his first save with the game on the line to keep the Pioneers in it, heading to the sixth frame at 4-4. Senior outside back AJ Fuller (Littleton, Colo.) and senior winger Kyle Morlack (Goodyear, Ariz.) converted in the sixth and seventh rounds of the shootout before Ghitis came up with another stop in the eighth round.

Palmquist would make another save though in the second half of the eighth round to send the shootout to a ninth frame.

Senior forward Blake Elder (Fort Worth, Texas) and Barlow converted in the ninth and 10th rounds, but Omaha had the answer each time to reset the kicking order heading into an 11th frame. Ghits made his third save in the shootout in the 11th, and Palmquist guessed the right way, but Hamzat put it in the corner to send Omaha to its first Summit League title.



All-Tournament Team
Blake Elder, Denver
Ben Fiddes, Western Illinois
Fred Frimpong, Omaha
Joseph Ghitis, Omaha
Diego Gutierrez, Omaha
Emmanuel Hamzat, Omaha (MVP)
Brendan McDonough, Eastern Illinois
Mike Novotny, Eastern Illinois
Alejandro Pacheco, Western Illinois
Graham Smith, Denver
Alex Underwood, Denver

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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Student-Athlete Alumni Giving Challenge:
In 2017-18, the University of Denver is holding an alumni giving challenge in an effort to increase student-athlete alumni participation in the Denver Athletics Annual Fund. The sport program with the highest percentage of alumni participation will receive an additional $10,000 of support through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Former student-athletes can make a gift online, by calling 303-871-2388 during normal business hours or by sending a check to:

Athletics Development Office
Attn: Kaley Rickert
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