By: Kelly Shipp
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Final awards and accolades have been awarded and the 2018 Summit League men's soccer season will be one for the record books.
The Denver Pioneers won the regular season crown for the sixth consecutive year with a Summit League record of 4-0-1 and 13 points. Denver's 4-3, come-from-behind victory in Omaha on Sept. 22 proved to be a key match as they narrowly edged out Omaha in the final standings who went 4-1 with 12 points. Purdue Fort Wayne finished third with six points, Eastern Illinois finished fourth (five points), Western Illinois finished fifth (four points) and Oral Roberts finished sixth (two points).
Summit League Championship
Defense was key throughout the championship as every match was decided by a 1-0 score for the first time in league history. No. 1 seed Denver got things started as Shinyashiki scored the lone goal in the first half against No. 4 Eastern Illinois. In the night cap, No. 2 Omaha edged out No. 3 Purdue Fort Wayne with a second-half goal from Noor Hamadi. In the championship match, Denver's Kenny Akamatsu found the back of the net in the 14th minute to give the Pioneers the title.
The Summit League announced its 2018 men's soccer All-League teams and individual award winners on Nov. 7 with Denver sweeping the individual awards. Shinyashiki was tabbed as the offensive player of the year, Scott DeVoss was named the defensive player of the year, Will Palmquist was the goalkeeper of the year, Callum Stretch was the newcomer of the year and Jamie Franks was tabbed the coach of the year. For a complete list of All-Summit League selections, click HERE.
Denver represented The Summit League in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 15 national seed. Earning a national seed also earned The Pioneers a first-round bye, their third in the last four years. In the second round DU battled Air Force but fell 2-1, with Moshe Perez scoring the lone Denver goal.
Denver's Shinyashiki was a unanimous first team All-America selection, earning first team honors from United Soccer Coaches, TopDrawerSoccer and College Soccer News. Pioneers freshman Callum Stretch earned Freshman All-America honors from College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer.
Omaha's Ed Gordon and Stevie Siy and Denver's Shinyashiki and Destan Norman landed on the Google Cloud Academic All-District team. Shinyashiki was selected as a Google Cloud and United Soccer Coaches Academic All-America.
Team Academic Accolades
Both Denver and Omaha got it done in the classroom as well as the field, earning the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award. This is Denver's 10th consecutive academic team honor and Omaha's second straight.