Omaha Captures First #SummitMSOC Title in Classic Tilt

photo by Mark Kuhlmann
photo by Mark Kuhlmann

Men's Soccer Championship Page | Bracket (PDF)

The Basics
Score: No. 1 Denver 1, No. 3 Omaha 1 [UNO advances on PK's, 9-8]
Records: Denver (11-6-2), Omaha (10-5-3)
Location: Caniglia Field - Omaha, Neb.

Video highlights courtesy of Omaha Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha Mavericks claimed its first Summit League Men's Soccer Tournament title Saturday, at Caniglia Field in a classic battle with the top-seeded Denver Pioneers.

Following a 1-1 draw in regulation and a pair of scoreless overtime periods, Omaha prevailed 9-8 in penalty kicks to secure the title. It took 11 rounds in the shootout before Maverick forward Emmanuel Hamzat converted after UNO goalie Joseph Ghitis denied Denver's Graham Smith.

In the first half, Denver's Scott DeVoss scored the match's first goal in the 26th minute. After Omaha goalie Joseph Ghitis over played the ball, the senior forward headed it in to give the Pioneers a 1-0 advantage.

The lead would last only 1:19 as Omaha's Emmanuel Hamzat drew a foul on Denver in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Maverick midfielder Xavier Gomez converted the PK tying the match at 1-1.

A scoreless second half and two overtime periods led to the longest match in Summit League Tournament history.

Turning Point
Omaha goalkeeper Joseph Ghitis' save on Denver's Graham Smith's penalty kick attempt in the 11th round. Emmanuel Hamzat would convert to give the Mavericks a 9-8 advantage.

Inside The Box Score

  • Attendance of 703 set a new Summit League title match record.
  • Omaha's Xavier Gomez and Denver's Alex Underwood led the way with four shots apiece.
  • The Pioneers held a slim 11-10 shot advantage and 4-3 corner kick edge.
  • Maverick goalie Joseph Ghitis made five saves with his counterpart Nick Gardner had four stops.

All-Tournament Team
Blake Elder, Denver
Ben Fiddes, Western Illinois
Fred Frimpong, Omaha
Joseph Ghitis, Omaha
Diego Gutierrez, Omaha
Emmanuel Hamzat, Omaha (MVP)
Brendan McDonough, Eastern Illinois
Mike Novotny, Eastern Illinois
Alejandro Pacheco, Western Illinois
Graham Smith, Denver
Alex Underwood, Denver

News & Notes

  • Omaha captures its first league tournament title in program history.
  • It marked just the second time a title match was decided by penalty kicks and the longest match in league tournament history. The previous longest was a 7-6 shootout in the 2010 semifinals.
  • Denver now stands at 9-0-1 in Summit League Tournament history.
  • Total tournament attendance of 1,483 sets new league tournament overall record.
  • Omaha garners its first Division I NCAA Tournament team berth in school history for any sport.

Up Next
With the victory, Omaha earns The Summit League's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Mavericks will learn of its placement on the NCAA Men's Soccer Selection Show Monday at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT on

Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.