VERMILLION, S.D. – Junior attacking midfielder Meg Halvorson (Englewood, Colo.) netted a goal in the seventh minute and the University of Denver women’s soccer team kept its eighth cleansheet of the year, including its fourth in the last five matches, to send the Pioneers to 3-0-1 in the Summit League with a 1-0 win at South Dakota on Sunday afternoon at the First Bank & Trust Soccer Complex.
Senior goalkeeper Brittany Wilson (Littleton, Colo.), who hadn’t been credited with a save since September 26th at UC Riverside due to the Pioneers excellent defensive form of late, made two in the win, including a diving save to her left in the 89th minute to preserve the one-goal lead.
After more than six-consecutive halves and two overtimes without allowing a shot on goal, a stretch that accumulated to just over 307 minutes, South Dakota’s Tiannah Moore put the home side’s first shot on target from a low-angle to put a stop to the streak early in the second half on Sunday.
“I loved the way we started again this afternoon,” head coach Jeff Hooker said. “I felt great about how we can out, especially on the road, looking for space and maintaining patience in breaking down a well-organized South Dakota team. I thought we let them get in behind us a few too many times in the first half, but made adjustments to what they were trying to do in the second half. Obviously a second goal would have been nice, and we created a few opportunities, but we’ll take our turf burns and six points on the road home with us and get ready for Thursday.”
Just 65 seconds after missing the first attempt of the match just over the crossbar, Halvorson made no mistake with the second opportunity, netting her third goal of the season in the seventh minute to put the Pioneers ahead. Junior defensive midfielder Brittney Lewis (Centennial, Colo.) and sophomore winger Natalie Beckman (Denver, Colo.) combined in the buildup, finding Halvorson at the top of the box for her 14th career goal that she buried into the bottom right corner.
Beckman earned her third assist of the season and the 12th of her career on the breakthrough, while Lewis was credited with her eighth career helper. Since the start of the 2002 campaign, Denver has now outscored opponents 207-81 in the opening half hour of matches, including 11-3 last season and 6-1 so far in 2019.
Denver has held opponents to two shots on goal or less in each of the last six matches, something Denver has now done 120 times in its Division I history and holds a record of 111-4-5 in those matches.
With the win, the Pioneers moved up to second in the Summit League table, five points behind South Dakota State, but Denver has a game in hand and will host the Jackrabbits on the final weekend of the regular season.
Denver will wrap-up a three-match road swing on Thursday with a trip to North Dakota at 2 p.m. MT. The Pioneers will then close out the regular season with a three-match homestand beginning October 27 against Purdue Fort Wayne at 12 p.m. MT.