University Denver Athletics
DENVER – The 15th-seeded University of Denver men's soccer team fell to Air Force 2-1 on Sunday evening at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium.
"I'm gutted for my guys," head coach Jamie Franks said. "To give up two of the worst goals that we've given up all year, with miscommunications errors on two nothing plays is just unfortunate. That's the way the game is sometimes. We thought we created plenty of chances in the game, we had nine good chances, but we didn't take them well."
Denver's senior class leaves the program having led the Pioneers to their first College Cup in program history in 2016, back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons in 2015 and 2016 (the first program to do that since Clemson in 1977-78), a 37-match unbeaten streak, three NCAA Tournament appearances, four Summit League regular season titles and three Summit League Tournament titles. DU's senior class entered the NCAA Tournament second in the country in percentage of points taken in the last four years at 78.5 and third in the country in wins with 61 (61-11-10).
"I'm gutted for my older guys especially, because they deserve better," Franks said. "I don't know of too many senior classes that can say they had the top grade point average in the country three years in a row, they've won community service Gold Vests year after year at DU, and they've been ranked in the top-10 in the country for a good portion of their careers here. They deserve more, and I'm just gutted for them. At the end of the day, our job is to develop people, and I'm really proud of my staff and our group for continuing every day to bring their best. It's really hard to do, but those kids gave everything that they had. That group can walk out of the locker room knowing that they developed and have grown as people, and that's the ultimate mission of the program."
Air Force took the lead in the 13th minute as a headed back pass from a Denver defender got past goalkeeper Will Palmquist (Denver, Colo.) to setup an easy tap-in for Klint Parker to put the visitors on top with his eight of the season.
The Falcons made it 2-0 in the 29th minute on Austin Dewing's 12th goal of the season, converting from the spot after Aaron Uribe was awarded a penalty by referee Matt Grove for a foul in the right side of the area. Uribe got in behind the Denver defense after two Pioneer defenders collided at the top of the area before Uribe hit the deck just outside the six.
On the other side of halftime, senior Moshe Perez (Shim'a, Israel) netted his third goal of the campaign on a free kick from just outside the box on the right side. Perez's free kick dipped over the head of the Air Force goalkeeper and into the side netting.