DENVER – Freshman Makenzie Bothner (Park City, Utah) opened her account in the 86th minute, 1:13 after senior Anna Willis’s (Centennial, Colo.) 86th minute equalizer to lead Denver to a 2-1 victory over Iowa State on Sunday at CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.
“It was a good character win for us,” head coach Jeff Hooker said. “I thought at halftime we were very positive, both the players and the coaches. We talked at halftime about how the goal was coming, and while we obviously didn’t want to concede first, I thought we showed great character at the end to not only get the tying goal, but to find the winner as well.”
The Pioneers came out of the gates with all the pressure, producing two quality scoring chances in the opening three minutes. Freshman centerback Jackie Dutton (Windsor, Calif.) got away from her mark to get a header off a Shannen Johnson (Golden, Colo.) corner kick, but Iowa State defender Sasha Stinson cleared her line at the near post. Freshman Jessie Dancy (Park City, Utah), who made her debut in the starting 11 this morning, had the second chance in the third minute, getting behind the backline, but Cyclones keeper Andrea Swanson made the save to deny the 1v1 chance.
Denver controlled the possession and the better part of the chances in the opening 45 minutes, holding an 8-3 shot advantage at the intermission.
Iowa State matched Denver’s energy coming out the locker room, creating several chances in the first 20 minutes of the second stanza. Koree Willer got on the end of a Hayley Womack corner in the 50th minute to give the Cyclones a 1-0 advantage.
“We just needed to be a littler sharper in the midfield,” Hooker said. “We gave up a couple breakaways there, and I thought our movement kind of stopped at times in the final third. We lacked a little bit of width and a little bit of creativity for spells there in the second half.”
Willis scored her first of the season in the 86th minute off a set-piece service from freshman Randee Holman-Kelley (San Diego, Calif.). Sophomore Brooke Boothe (Ontario, Calif.) drew the original foul just inside the Pioneers’ attacking half. Holman-Kelley, who was at centerback later in the match, played her service in-between the six-yard box and the penalty spot. Willis got on the end of the service, and flicked her header back to the near post for the 11th goal of her career.
Bothner found the game-winner in the 87th minute as her run down the right side was spotted by senior outside back Shelby Wesley (Aurora, Colo.). The Pioneer rookie cut her run into the inside, and found the back of the net with a pacey strike into traffic that deflected off an Iowa State defender and into the back of the net.
“When it came time, and our backs were against the wall we really did a good job of getting it done,” Hooker said. “We went with three in the back, and got just two fantastic goals.”
Junior Tina Vargas (Issaquah, Wash.) made her first start and earned her third CAP on Sunday, starting in-place of reining Summit League Goalkeeper of the Year Cassidy Rey (Arcadia, Calif.) who was forced to miss Sunday’s match after receiving a red card for the denial of a goal scoring opportunity in the 89th minute on Friday at Colorado. Vargas was called upon for one save in her starting debut.
“I think Tina did very well,” Hooker said. “I think she was kicking herself on that corner kick, and probably thought she could have come out, but in fairness to her, that player should have been marked. If that’s the only blemish on the day to get her first win of the season, we’ll take that.”
The Pioneers will host their first of two one-game weeks on Friday, as Denver welcomes San Francisco to CIBER Field for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Don't miss out on Pioneer soccer action this fall. Season and individual game tickets are on sale now. Fans interested in purchasing tickets can do so by phone at 303-871-2336, in person at the Richie Center box office or through DenverPioneers.com by clicking here.
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