Denver’s Defense Holds Second-Straight Opposition Without Shot on Goal
The Pioneers will continue a three-game road swing on Sunday afternoon at South Dakota
OMAHA – The University of Denver women’s soccer team’s defense turned in another performance for the record books, holding its second-straight opponent without a shot on goal, while getting goals to the good from sophomore Camryn MacMillan (Littleton, Colo.) and classmate Natalie Beckman (Denver, Colo.) in a 2-0 win over Omaha in a rematch of the 2018 Summit League Tournament Final on Thursday night at Caniglia Field.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start tonight,” head coach Jeff Hooker said. “Coming here and playing a very well coached and organized team on the road is a tough assignment, and I thought we handled it very well. Fast starts have been something we’ve had success with this season, but to score off our first real sustained possession was big.
“Getting a second goal early in the second half was key too because it allowed us to knock it around a little bit and it made them extend themselves even more. With back-to-back road games, it was important for us to get a lot of players in the game tonight, and a second goal helped with that as well. I’m proud of how we played defensively to earn a win on the road, which in league play, are always tough to come by.”
The Pioneers defense has held their opposition without a shot on goal in five-consecutive halves (and two overtimes), stretching the streak to 257:33 without allowing a shot on goal. Thursday night marked the 22nd time in Denver’s Division I history that it held an opponent without a shot on goal.
MacMillan opened the scoring 99 seconds into the match, heading in her own rebound to put the Pioneers ahead with her third goal of the season and the 10th of her career. Sophomore outside back Esther Malers (Fort Collins, Colo.) and junior centerback Taylor Parker (Aurora, Colo.) setup the scoring chance for the Pioneers. Malers played it back to the midfield line to Parker, who played a big ball over the top to MacMillan. MacMillan chipped the keeper, only to watch her shot bounce off the turf and hit the crossbar. Omaha had two defenders that overran the carom off the crossbar, leaving MacMillan inside the six-yard box to head in the rebound into an open net.
MacMillan, who already scored the third-latest goal in regulation in Denver’s Division I history this season at UC Riverside, put her name in the record books once again on Thursday, scoring the ninth-fastest goal to start a match in DU history. The Denver sophomore now has three goals in the last five matches.
Coming off a two goal and one assist performance against Western Illinois last week that secured her Summit League Offensive Player of the Week honors, Beckman doubled Denver’s advantage in the 63rd minute, capitalizing off a bouncing ball in the box. Junior attacking midfielder Meg Halvorson (Englewood, Colo.) linked up with redshirt-senior outside back Mary DeWalt (West Bend, Wis.) down the Denver right to setup the play. DeWalt’s cross was punched out just to the left of the penalty spot, and Beckman was the first to get a foot to it for her third goal of the season and the fifth of her career.
Denver has held opponents to two shots on goal or less in each of the last five matches, something Denver has now done 119 times in its Division I history and holds a record of 110-4-5 in those matches.
The Pioneers outshot Omaha 17-2 on Thursday, putting five of their shots on target.