#25 Denver Downs UC Davis 3-0
DENVER – After missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons with two separate knee injuries, 2014 University of Denver men’s soccer leading goal scorer Eric Kronenberg (Boulder, Colo.) got on the scoresheet for the first time in 1,034 days to kick-start a 3-0 [RV/RV] Pioneers win over UC Davis on Friday night at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.
“When the ball went into the back of the net, it was one of those blackout moments,” Kronenberg said. “It was pure joy. Going to the bench after the goal and seeing the entire team as excited as I was is a moment that I will remember forever. After two years of grinding through injuries, that moment is going to stay with me.
“I gave (athletic trainer) Michael Eckert and (Pioneer Performance coach) Matt Shaw a big hug after. They put up with me over the last two years. I didn’t go home during the winters. They didn’t get a vacation, they were in there with me. They put in just as much work as I did, and this goal is just as much there’s as it is mine. I thank them so much for getting me back.”
Senior co-captain Alex Underwood (Winnetka, Ill.) and junior striker Andre Shinyashiki (Sao Paulo, Brazil) added second half tallies, while senior co-captain Graham Smith (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) assisted on all three goals.
“I think we found out who our leaders were,” Franks said. “After the adversity we’ve dealt with the last couple of weeks, and luck really not being in our favor, guys rolled up their sleeves, led by example and brought the passion and inspiration that makes the Denver Pioneers different.”
A little more than three minutes after coming on as a sub, Kronenberg broke the deadlock with his first goal since the 2014 Summit League Final, blasting a strike from the top of the box. Smith played a switch ball to senior outside back AJ Fuller (Littleton, Colo.) down the left channel. Fuller cut his cross back to the top of the box to Kronenberg for the Pioneers’ breakthrough in the 36th minute.
Kronenberg now has 11 goals in his Pioneer career, all as a substitute. The redshirt-senior moved into sixth in game-winning goals in Denver’s Division I history with the fifth of his career.
“I love him (Kronenberg), I recruited him and I believe in him,” Franks said. “To watch his resiliency and his growth in the last three years, it’s a special moment for me as a coach. To watch how hard he worked, and how much support and love he got from Matt Shaw and Michael Eckert and everyone else. It’s a special moment.”
Underwood doubled the Pioneers advantage in the 48th minute with the ninth goal of his Denver career. Smith found Shinyashiki’s run in the middle of the park, and the Denver junior played a clever through-ball to Underwood, who took a couple of the touches before curling his finish into the side netting.
UC Davis goalkeeper Jon Laughlin was whistled for handling outside of the area in the 83rd minute to set-up a training ground set-piece that saw Smith touch it to Shinyashiki, who put it into the back of the net from just outside the area. The goal is the 17th of the Brazilian’s career, moving him into a tie for fourth in Denver’s Division I history. Shinyashiki is also eighth in career points as a Pioneer with 42.
UP NEXT: Denver closes out a stretch of six of eight at home to start the season when the Pioneers welcome Saint Mary’s to the University of Denver Soccer Stadium Sunday at 7 p.m. MT. Sunday’s match will be streamed live on Pioneer Vision.
SINGLE GAME TICKETS: Single game tickets for the 2017 Denver men's soccer season are available online and can be purchased here.
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