[4/3] Denver Wins Fourth-Straight Summit League Title
Andre Shinyashiki nets his second brace in three matches to earn tournament MVP honors
Nov. 12, 2016
DENVER – The [4/3] University of Denver men’s soccer team won its fourth-straight Summit League Championship as sophomore Andre Shinyashiki (Sao Paulo, Brazil) scored twice for the second time in three matches to send the Pioneers to a 2-1 win over Omaha on Saturday afternoon at CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.
With the rest of Saturday’s and Sunday’s matches still to play in the NCAA, Denver moved up to No. 8 in the RPI with this afternoon’s win.
“This is the fourth time that this group has won this championship, so we’ve played in these big games, we know what these knockout style finals are like,” head coach Jamie Franks said. “The loss to SMU in the NCAA Tournament last year is still fresh on our minds, and that’s what keeps us going.
“I thought we turned in a great performance today. Playing without one of the inspirational leaders on our team in Kortne Ford, the guys really came together and put in a good performance for their teammate. It’s a testament to the character of this group. Time and time again this group is there to pick each other up, and I’m just really proud of the guys for the effort they put into the match today.”
The Pioneers (17-0-3) played without junior centerback Kortne Ford (Greeley, Colo.), who was suspended after receiving his marching orders in the 84th minute of Denver’s semifinal win over Western Illinois on Thursday. Prior to Saturday, Ford had started every game of his three year career.
Omaha (10-5-4) struck first in the 58th minute when Fazio Alihodzic took a set piece from the right channel and played it to the back post where Jacob Weiler headed in his second goal of the season to put the visitors ahead just shy of the hour mark.
Shinyashiki’s first goal of the afternoon came off a corner kick, the second for the Pioneers in succession. Redshirt-senior Karsten Hanlin (Centennial, Colo.) played the corner kick just outside the six yard box which was temporarily headed away by the Mavs backline. Junior Graham Smith (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) headed the second ball back in the box to redshirt-junior Blake Elder (Fort Worth, Texas) who headed it across the six-yard box to the one-touch finish of Shinyashiki. The assists were Smith’s third of the season and Elder’s second.
“This performance tonight shows the personality of our team,” Shinyashiki said. “I think everyone out here is a fighter, and no one got recruited to Denver on talent alone, but because of their hard work. At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to win you games in November and December. I admire every guy in this family. We stuck together out there today, and found a way to win the game.”
The Brazilian striker netted his seventh goal of the campaign and his sixth in six matches in the 90th minute off assists from senior captain Sam Hamilton (Evergreen, Colo.) and redshirt-senior winger Chandler Crosswait (Bedford, Texas). Crosswait made his run down the right channel near the endline and was able to fight long enough to keep possession against two Omaha defenders to get the ball to Hamilton, who clipped in a first time cross to the head of Shinyashiki for the game-winner.
“He’s had a wonderful season so far, and until late, I don’t think it had been rewarded with goals,” Franks said. “For me, his resiliency throughout the year has brought him to this moment right now. He’s in great form right at the time of the season where you want to be, heading into late November and December.”
Shinyashiki’s brace in the league championship match is the third of his career, earning him Summit League Tournament MVP honors. The striker’s goal is Denver’s third in regulation in the 85th minute or later.
The first team to go unbeaten in consecutive regular seasons and league tournaments since Clemson did it in 1977-78, the Pioneers are now 45-3-4 at CIBER Field since Franks joined the staff as an assistant in 2012, and 38-1-2 in their last 41 home matches. Denver is also 56-12-11 over the last four years, the third-best record in the country during that span.
Denver now awaits Monday’s NCAA Men’s Soccer Selection Show. The show will be streamed live on NCAA.com beginning at 11 a.m. MT. The Pioneers will hold a Selection Show Watch Party on Monday morning at Snarf’s on Evans Ave near the DU campus.
Summit League All-Tournament Team
Fazlo Alihodzic, Omaha
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