DENVER – The University of Denver women’s soccer team defeated Oral Roberts 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale to bring home a share of the 2018 Summit League regular season title, the program’s second conference regular season crown in the last three years, and its third trophy overall (2017 Summit League Tournament) in that timeframe.
“I thought we showed good respect for the opponent, understanding the situation that both teams were in today, needing to win to accomplish their respective goals,” head coach Jeff Hooker said. “At the beginning of the game, these games are always a bit emotional, and it took us a little bit to get going. We got the third goal which helped us be able to relax a little at the end. It was a really nice way to send off the seniors in their home career, making sure they finished their senior year unbeaten at home. As a whole, I thought we accepted the challenge today, knowing the conference championship was on the line. We’ll take the win, celebrate it tonight at our banquet and then quickly shift our attention to Thursday.”
Saturday’s league title was the program’s ninth NCAA Division I regular season crown and its third in the Summit League (2013 and 2016). The Pioneers won a trophy in their only WAC regular season in 2012 and won five in the Sun Belt.
Leah Swander (Grand Junction, Colo.) got a Senior Day goal for her third of the season off assists from junior Hannah Adler (Oak Park, Calif.) and freshman Esther Malers (Fort Collins, Colo.). Adler sprayed the ball out wide to the freshman outside back who crossed it 10 yards off the end line to the run of Swander. Swander headed it to the left of the Oral Roberts keeper and into the back of the net. Adler’s assist was her sixth of the campaign, while Malers picked up her second helper on the 15th minute opener.
Denver doubled its advantage in the 29th minute when freshman Samantha Feller (Grand Junction, Colo.) scored for the eighth time in her rookie campaign, dunking in a Natalie Beckman (Denver, Colo.) corner kick. Beckman’s assist was her team-high ninth of the season.
Adler made it 3-0 with her sixth goal of the season, finishing touches from freshman centerback Devan McSwain (Glenwood Springs, Colo.) and Feller. The play started from the Denver left as senior Cristiana Behnken (Ogden, Utah) played a cross to the back post. Feller headed the Behnken cross into the center of the box to McSwain, who chested it down to Adler. The Denver junior scored the 19th goal of her Pioneer career to send Denver to a 3-0 lead in the 74th minute.
Denver outshot Oral Roberts 21-2 in the match and took seven of the eight corners.
Junior Brittany Wilson (Littleton, Colo.) was asked to make just one save in her eighth cleansheet of the season and the 15th of her three-year Pioneer career.
The Pioneers concluded their home slate on Saturday afternoon with a 6-0-2 record at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium, the program’s first unbeaten home record since going 7-0-1 en route to a run to the Round of 16 in 2012.
DU improved to 33-12-1 in conference play since joining the Summit League in 2013, including 18-5-0 in home games. Denver will take its 5-0-2 record in the Summit League Tournament since 2013 to Brookings for next week’s Summit League Women’s Soccer Championship.
Following the match, Denver honored student manager Courtney Coffey, Behnken and Swander on Senior Day.
UP NEXT: Denver earned the No. 2 seed in next week’s Summit League Tournament, beginning on Thursday in Brookings. The Pioneers will battle third-seeded North Dakota State in a rematch of the 2017 Summit League Tournament Final on Thursday at 5 p.m. MT. Denver won the regular season match-up in Fargo, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 extra time win at Dacotah Field. Hosts South Dakota State earned the No. 1 seed, and will host a fourth-seeded team to be determined tomorrow. The first semifinal will kickoff at 2 p.m. MT, and Saturday’s Summit League Final will kick at 11 a.m. MT.