By: Kelly Shipp
DENVER – Top-seeded Denver captured its fifth Summit League Tournament Championship in the last six years with its 1-0 victory over No. 2 Omaha on Saturday.
Early in the match both Denver and Omaha created a few chances to get on the board but the lone goal in the championship contest came early in the first half. Denver senior Kenny Akamatsu beat Omaha's goalkeeper Ugo Tritz to put the Pioneers on the board in the 14th minute of action.
The defense for both squads took over from there and didn't allow another goal to be scored. Omaha's Tritz had an amazing match for the Mavericks with diving stop after diving stop to keep his team in the contest. Tritz ended the night with a match-high five saves.
The Mavericks made it interesting with less than 10 minutes to play. They kept the ball in the Denver zone for much of the second half and just missed the net on three different occasions in the final minute. The chance that made the entire stadium hold their breath came from Nil Ayats who missed the top left corner by inches as the ball struck the crossbar and took a Pioneer bounce when it hit the turf, bouncing back into play.
• Akamatsu scored his fourth goal of the season
• Omaha outshot Denver 14-12. The Pioneers put seven shots on goal to the Mavericks zero
• Omaha earned two corner kicks while Denver had one
• Denver goalkeeper Will Palmquist earned his fifth shutout of the season. He improved his record to 7-3 on the year
• Scott DeVoss of Denver was named the tournament MVP
• This was the third consecutive championship match that featured Denver and Omaha. The Pioneers have won two of the three meetings
• This is the first time since 2015 the championships No. 1 seed has won the tournament. Denver was the last No. 1 seed to win
• This is the first time in Summit League Men's Soccer Championship history that all three tournament matches ended by scores of 1-0
• Palmquist becomes the ninth goalie in Summit League men's soccer history to record two shutouts in the championship. The last goalie to record two shutouts was Denver's Dan Jackson in 2015
• This is just the 10th time in championship history that a team has allowed zero goals. Last team to do it was the 2015 squad from Denver. Denver and Western Illinois are the only schools to have done it three times
• This is Denver's 11th championship, regular season and tournament, in the last six seasons
2018 All-Tournament Team
Andy O'Donoghue - Purdue Fort Wayne
Matthew Lieshout - Purdue Fort Wayne
Kris Luke - Eastern Illinois
Cole Harkrader - Eastern Illinois
Marcos Bautista - Omaha
Nil Ayats - Omaha
Billy Hoffman - Omaha
Moshe Perez - Denver
Kenny Akamatsu - Denver
Jacob Stensson - Denver
Scott DeVoss, MVP - Denver
No. 9/14 Denver will find out where and when they will open the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Monday, Nov. 12 at noon (CT). The live selection show will air on NCAA.com and select 48 participants. The top 16 seeds will receive a first round bye.