Denver Tops Utah Valley 2-1
DENVER – Sophomore winger Alex Underwood (Winnetka, Ill.) glanced a Chandler Crosswait (Bedford, Texas) cross into the bottom right corner in the 94th minute to send the [15/17] University of Denver men’s soccer team to a 2-1 extra-time win over [RV/RV] Utah Valley on Sunday night at CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.
With the victory, Denver extended the nation’s best active home winning streak to 20 matches and its national leading home unbeaten streak to 22 matches. The 20 match winning streak is now tied for the 12th-longest in NCAA history, while the 22-match streak is tied for the 19th-longest in history.
“Alex Underwood all night had a little pep to his step,” head coach Jamie Franks said. “I’m happy for him. For us, he’s scored two important goals this season. As he gets older, we’re going to continue to rely on him. Overall, two wins on the weekend with a travel day in between, I’ll take that all season. We’ll enjoy this one tonight, before we start getting ready for Summit League play and Western Illinois next week.”
Colorado Rapids Academy product Karsten Hanlin (Centennial, Colo.) netted the opener in the 25th minute, curling a free kick over the wall and into the upper-90. Crosswait created the opportunity for the Pioneers (6-0-1), earning a free kick 20-yards just right of the D.
Hanlin’s goal was the fifth of the junior’s career, and was his first of the season. Sunday night marked the fifth time in seven matches that the Pioneers scored the first goal.
Denver outshot the Wolverines (6-2-0) 7-3 in the opening 45 minutes, and took both of the first half corner kicks. Redshirt-senior Dan Jackson (Chapel Hill, N.C.) was required to make just one save in the first half.
Utah Valley got a foothold into the match to start the second half, possession that eventually led to the 70th minute equalizer from Aaron Meyer, his third of the campaign. Karson Payton got in on the right, and played his pass into the center of the area to the feet of Meyer.
Underwood, a Chicago Fire Academy product, scored the winner off assists from Crosswait and freshman outside back Tosh Samkange (Sammamish, Wash.). Crosswait and Samkange exchanged a couple of passes in the build-up before Crosswait put his service eight yards off the end line. Underwood ran onto the service, and provided the perfectly weighted touch to nestle the ball into the bottom corner.
“We really wanted a certain group out there to end the game,” Franks said. “We felt that we made some tactical moves earlier on to make sure those guys were fresh. Sunday games, we believe, are usually won in the last 30 minutes or in overtime. I thought we were the fresher group in the extra session. We kept pushing forward, and got the winner.”
Sunday night’s winner was the second for Underwood on the campaign (Army). The sophomore added an assist on sophomore Cole Stevenson’s (Leawood, Kan.) game-winner on Friday night, and now sits on seven points in 2015. Crosswait leads the team with eight points.
The sophomore’s golden goal is Denver’s second of 2015, and its six in the first period of extra time since Franks’ arrival in 2012. Since 2012, Denver has outscored opponents 8-3 in extra time.
UP NEXT: The Pioneers will open Summit League play Saturday when they travel to Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. MT.
TICKETS: Single-game tickets for the 2015 Denver men’s are on sale now, and can be purchased online, here.
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