THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Redshirt-senior Blake Elder's first-half goal and the top-seeded Denver men's soccer team's eighth cleansheet of the season booked the Pioneers' ticket to Saturday's Summit League Final after a 1-0 win over Eastern Illinois on Thursday afternoon at Caniglia Field. Denver and Omaha will meet in the Summit League Final for the second-consecutive season on Saturday when the Pioneers and Mavs clash on Caniglia Field. Andre Shinyashiki netted a 90th minute equalizer and Graham Smith converted from the spot in the 93rd minute to give Denver the 2-1 victory at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium earlier this season. A year ago in the final, Shinyashiki scored twice in the final 15 minutes to bring the Pioneers back from a goal down to win 2-1. The 2017 NCAA Men's Soccer Selection Show will be streamed live on NCAA.com at 11 a.m. MT on Monday.
SIX-STRAIGHT 10-WIN SEASONS The Pioneers have recorded double-digit wins in each of the six seasons since Franks' arrival as an assistant, averaging 13.5 a season from 2012-17. The Pioneers reached double digits in 2017 with their win at Western Illinois on Nov. 4. Denver last recorded 5+-consecutive double digit win seasons from 1986-1990, producing a five-season record of 78-15-8 in that span. Prior to the current stretch, Denver had never completed six-straight seasons in double-digits. From 2012-17, Denver has gone 81-25-15.
HEAD COACH Jamie Franks Former DU assistant and Wake Forest alum Jamie Franks took over the reins, officially inking his name as Denver's 10th head coach, on Aug. 29, 2015. Franks is 46-8-7 as a head coach in 2+ seasons with the Pioneers. The Pioneers are 81-25-15 since Franks' arrival as an assistant coach prior to the start of the 2012 season. Combined as a college player and coach, Franks is 180-52-32, reaching now five College Cups and winning a National Championship with the Deacs (07). According to information submitted to the NCAA in 2015, Franks was the youngest DI head coach (29) two seasons ago and was the second youngest in 2016.
DEFENSIVE FORM Denver allowed just nine shots on goal combined in Summit League regular season play. In 2017, Denver has allowed just 49 shots on goal, for an average of 2.72/game. Denver allowed just two shots on goal on Thursday, bringing Denver's defensive mark to 11 in six matches against league opposition. Denver has allowed two shots on goal or less in eight matches this season.
LEAGUE TITLES With the Pioneers win over Omaha on Oct. 28, Denver clinched at least a share of its fifth-straight Summit League regular season title. Since joining the league in 2013, Denver has gone 24-2-3 in the regular season, including 15-0-2 in the regular season since Franks took over as head coach. The regular season title is Denver's seventh since 2008 (won the MPSF in both 2008 and 2010). Denver is 9-0 all-time in the Summit League Tournament, winning the previous four league championships.
GET ON THE BOARD FIRST The Pioneers were 11-1-1 in 2014, 14-0-1 in 2015, 18-0-0 in 2016 and are 10-1-0 in 2017 when scoring the first goal. Since Franks' arrival in 2012, the Pioneers are 74-3-6 when scoring the first goal. Denver lost 2-1 in extra time at Gonzaga on Sept. 30, Denver's first setback from a winning position since the 2014 campaign (October 6, 2014 - at Bradley). DU hasn't lost at home after scoring the first goal since a 2-1 loss to UMKC on Oct. 10, 2009.
WORK IN THE CLASSROOM The Denver men's soccer program topped the grade point average rankings according to the United Soccer Coaches' Association for the second-consecutive year in 2016-17. Denver finished with a 3.619 grade point average last year to finish with the highest Division I GPA among the 205 NCAA programs in the top division of college athletics. In 2015-16, the Pioneers turned in a 3.49 grade point average. Last November, two-time captain Sam Hamilton became the athletic department's 52nd CoSIDA Academic All-American, including the fifth in the men's soccer program's history. Following 2016-17, Hamilton earned Summit League Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.
KRONENBERG GETS BACK ON THE SCORESHEET 34 months and two knee surgeries later, 2014 Denver men's soccer leading scorer Eric Kronenberg found the back of the net for the first time since the 2014 Summit League Final on Sept. 15, 2017, firing a bullet from outside the area into the back of the net to open the scoring in Denver's 3-0 over UC Davis. 1,034 days separated the two goals for the redshirt-senior, who now has 12 goals in his career in 49 CAPS, all off the bench for the Pioneers. The story of Kronenberg's return was featured at halftime on Altitude on October 28. Kronenberg scored his second goal of the 2017 campaign on Oct. 7 against Eastern Illinois, the lone goal in the Pioneers' Summit League opener. Kronenberg, is now sixth in Denver's Division I history in game-winning goals with six.
GET IT EARLY OR LEAVE IT LATE Shinyashiki scored the equalizer vs. Omaha on October 28 with 16 seconds remaining in the 90th minute, a match the Pioneers eventually won on a Graham Smith 93rd minute penalty. The leveler was Denver's latest equalizer/game-winner in its Division I history. Shinyashiki scored the game-winner in the Summit League Final vs. Omaha with 41 seconds left in regulation on Nov. 12, Denver's third goal in the 85th minute or later in regulation in 2016. Graham Smith's 89th minute equalizer at Monmouth (8/26/16) was Denver's latest equalizer/game-winner at the time in regulation since Alex Tarnoczi scored a 90th minute leveler (89:33) in Denver's 5-4 extra time win at UNLV on Oct. 16, 2011. Blake Elder scored an 87th minute winner on Sept. 17, 2016 vs. North Florida to break a nil-nil deadlock and send Denver to its seventh-straight win. Alex Underwood 's breakthrough (1:38) at No. 25 Rutgers (8/28/16) was Denver's second-fastest goal since 2004, behind a Scott DeVoss opener against Western Illinois in the 2015 Summit League Semifinals (1:20)...On Sept. 3, 2017, holding mid Ryan Barlow scored 1:40 into proceedings in Denver's 2-0 win over Drake on Sept. 3, 2017. Andre Shinyashiki's goal with eight seconds in the second period of extra time against New Mexico (10/19/16) is Denver's latest goal on record in its Division I history. The DU striker also scored in extra time in Denver's 2-1 win over Portland a year ago.
TOP DRAWER SOCCER MIDSEASON TOP 100 Junior striker Andre Shinyashiki (#41) and senior co-captain Alex Underwood (#80) were named to the Top Drawer Soccer Midseason Top 100, the publication released last week. Now 18 games into the season, Shinyashiki has 22 pts (9G-4A) and Underwood has eight out of the Denver midfield (3G-2A).
SENIOR LEADERSHIP This year's senior class helped lead the program to its first College Cup in program history in 2016, back-to-back undefeated regular seasons (2015-16), the first program to do that since 1977-78 (Clemson), a 37-match unbeaten streak, the third-most wins in NCAA soccer during their careers, three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, four-straight Summit League regular season titles and three-straight Summit League Tournament titles. This year's class enters the match with a record of 57-16-8.
The Last Meeting
October 28, 2017
Denver Clinches At-Least a Share of Fifth-Straight League Title
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.