BOULDER, Colo. – Junior forward Leah Swander (Grand Junction, Colo.) found the back of the net in the 99th minute, sending the University of Denver women’s soccer team to its second-straight win in the first period of extra time, lifting Denver to a 1-0 victory over Colorado State in the first game of a Colorado Cup triple header on Sunday at Prentup Field.
“That’s a really good character win for us today,” head coach Jeff Hooker said. “They made us change formations with some of the injuries that we had. Putting three up top allowed us to get some pressure on them in their defensive half. The best thing in college overtime is to see the ball go into the back of the net, and we’ve done that twice now in two matches.
“Today was a story of two similar formations playing against eachother. They defended a little bit differently than we did, so I think we had a tough time initially trying to break them down. Credit Colorado State in the first half, they did a good job of taking away things that we like to do. Today was a typical early-season Sunday afternoon game with heavy legs, and coming away with two shutouts in two matches is a testament to this young team.”
Sophomore Brittany Wilson (Littleton, Colo.) kept a cleansheet once again, making three saves, one in each period.
Colorado State controlled a good portion of the play in the opening 20 minutes, but the Pioneers found their footing in the latter part of the half, earning three corner kicks and directing a pair of shots towards Paige Brandt’s goal.
“In the first 20 minutes, we gave the ball away in spots they wanted us to give the ball away,” Hooker said. “We played right into their pressure and their tactics, and they had us right where they wanted us early in the game. Our soccer IQ wasn’t high enough early, but once we figured out how we could get it out and past their pressure, we had the better of the play.”
Denver had a majority of the scoring chances in the second 45 minutes, outshooting the Rams 8-3 to make it 10-7 Denver in regulation. Friday night’s goal scorer, senior forward Jessie Dancy (Park City, Utah), created Denver’s two best chances in the second half, chesting balls down at the top of box to freshman Meg Halvorson (Englewood, Colo.) and senior Angelica Pacheco (Taos, N.M.), but both shots were off target. Halvorson had two of Denver’s three shots on target in the second half, both from just inside the 18-yard box.
Swander received a pass inside Denver’s attacking half from freshman holding mid Brittney Lewis (Centennial, Colo.). The Denver junior received the ball, took two touches around her defender and fired a shot from 25 yards off the raised foot of CSU’s Taylor Hodgson and into the back of the net.
Denver stayed perfect in both the Colorado Cup and the 2017 regular season with the win, something Denver hasn’t done in the tournament since its expansion to six teams in 2014.
“The girls brought it up yesterday,” Hooker said. “I think after they realized how special of a day the Special Olympics Clinic was and this entire weekend is, they talked about playing for a trophy, which is great to hear from our coaching staff’s perspective.”
UP NEXT: Denver will return home for a pair of home matches next weekend at Pioneer Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium. The Pioneers host UC Riverside on Friday (5 p.m. MT/Altitude 2) in the first game of a double header with the men’s program. Denver will stay at home on Sunday to take on Albany at noon on Altitude. For more information on the Colorado Cup, click here.
Season tickets for the 2017 Denver men’s and women’s soccer seasons can be purchased for $55 online by clicking here. The two programs will combine to host 17 regular season home games this fall. For all Denver Athletics ticket inquires, call 303-871-GOAL (4625).
Fans interested in making a donation to the women’s soccer program can do so by clicking here. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.
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