#SummitMSOC Weekly Notebook: Championship Edition

Western Illinois had a lot to celebrate at the close of the regular season as the Leathernecks captured a share of their first league title since 2014.
Western Illinois had a lot to celebrate at the close of the regular season as the Leathernecks captured a share of their first league title since 2014.

Weekly Notebook (PDF w/stats) | Championship Central | Bracket

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It was a wild close to the Summit League men's soccer regular season as it literally came down to the final seconds to determine how the bracket would look for the 2019 Men's Soccer Championship presented by U.S. Air Force Special Warfare. After the final horn sounded in Tulsa on Saturday, it was Western Illinois that would claim the top seed thanks to their thrilling 2-1 victory over previously unbeaten and No. 20 Oral Roberts, who will be the No. 2 seed. Those two would share the regular-season title with identical 4-1-0 records and crash a four-team postseason field that neither were a part of last season.

In fact, the 2019 preseason coaches' poll had the Fighting Leathernecks pegged to finish fifth and Oral Roberts slotted to finish fourth. In retrospect, no team finished where they were predicted to as preseason favorite Denver saw its run of six-straight seasons of at least sharing the regular-season crown come to an end. The Pioneers shared third in the table with Omaha, a team they defeated 1-0 in the title match of the 2018 postseason event, after both posted 2-2-1 records. 

Denver will be on its home pitch, however, a place where it finished 2-2-1 during the regular season and has never lost a Summit League Championship contest (8-0-0). The Mavericks will be the No. 4 seed and still could face Denver in the title match for the fourth-consecutive year if both clubs were to win their semifinal matchups.

Matchups
Semifinals | Thursday, Nov. 14
(1) Western Illinois vs. (4) Omaha | 1 p.m. MT
(2) Oral Roberts vs. (3) Denver | 4 p.m. CT

Final | Saturday, Nov. 16 
Semifinal winners | 2 p.m. MT

Live Streaming
All three Summit League Championship matches from Denver will be streamed free of charge on The Summit League's official website: www.thesummitleague.org/watch

Broadcasters for all three streams at the Championship are Brad Thompson and Chris Bianchi.

Around The League
• All four seeds for the 2019 #SummitMSOC Championship presented by U.S. Air Force Special Warfare were decided last Saturday as the regular season came to an exciting close.
• A year ago, the top two seeds in the field, Western Illinois and Oral Roberts, were on the outside looking in after not qualifying.
• This time around, both the Fighting Leathernecks and Golden Eagles will be in Denver and those two teams faced off in a regular-season finale to decide the top seed. In a tight match all the way, Western Illinois survived a thrilling finish to take a 2-1 victory and earn a share of the regular-season title with the Golden Eagles as both squads finished 4-1 in league play.
• All three goals were scored in the closing eight minutes of the decisive match.
• WIU got goals from Daisuke Otsuka in the 83rd minute and Ryan DeBois in the 89th minute before ORU's Dante Brigida scored in the 90th minute to make for an intense final minute.
• Otsuka's goal was his fourth of the season and he had a goal in each of WIU's last three Summit League victories. DeBois scored in eight of WIU's last 10 matches and was the only player to score in all five league matchups.
• WIU goalkeeper Tim Trilk was named the Defensive Player of the Week, tying a program record with his fourth career award. He made five key saves vs. ORU. 
• The victory makes WIU the No. 1 seed for the first time since 2011 and the regular-season title is the Leathernecks' first since the four teams in the 2019 field shared a four-way title in 2014.
• Oral Roberts was last part of the tournament field in 2015 and is the first team since the Leathernecks in 1999 to finish at the bottom of the standings the previous year and move all the way to top a year later. • The Golden Eagles will be the No. 2 seed and will be looking for their first tournament title since 1999.
• Brigida's late goal moved him into a tie for the league-lead in goals scored at 11 with teammate Reed Berry.
• Host Denver will be the No. 3 seed after clinching the final spot in the field last Saturday thanks to a 3-1 victory over Purdue Fort Wayne.
• Junior Preston Judd scored a brace for the Pioneers en route to earning his first Offensive Player of the Week award. He leads DU with six goals and also earned a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for his efforts.
• Omaha new it was in the field before the weekend, but ended up as the No. 4 seed after earning a bid to the postseason event for the fifth time in five tries.
• The Mavericks closed out their regular season by earning a 0-0 draw at San Diego State on Friday. 

Noting The Qualifiers
(1) Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks
• After an 0-11 start to the season, the Leathernecks enter the postseason having won five of their last seven matches (5-1-1).
• The share of the regular-season title is the first for the program since 2014 and fifth overall.
• Junior Ryan DeBois has scored a goal in eight of WIU's last 10 matches, including all five Summit League matches and ranks third in the league in that category.
• Senior goalkeeper Tim Trilk ranks second in The Summit League with 83 saves. 

(2) Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
• ORU's 13 wins are a single-season program record.
• Senior midfielder Tanguy Guerineau shares the NCAA Division I lead with 12 assists and was The Summit League Male Athlete of the Month in October
• The Golden Eagles exceeded their regular-season Summit League win from the last three seasons (3-14-1) in 2019 with a 4-1 finish, sharing the regular-season title with Western Illinois
• Junior Dante Brigida and freshman Reed Berry share The Summit League lead in goals scored with 11.

(3) Denver Pioneers
• Denver is the only Summit League team to qualify for the last seven postseason tournaments. This is the first season since joining in 2013 that the Pioneers did not clinch at least a share of the regular-season title.
• Newcomers Preston Judd (6, Cal Baptist) and Josh Drack (4, Grand Canyon) combined for 10 goals and ranked one-two in that category for Pioneers.
• Five of DU's 11 losses this season came in extra time.
• The Pioneers are 11-0-1 in Summit League Championship play and have won five of the last six postseason events.

(4) Omaha Mavericks
• Omaha has now qualified for all five Summit League Championships it has been eligible to compete in since transitioning to the Division I level.
• The Mavericks have advanced to the title match in three-consecutive seasons, winning the 2017 in a penalty-kick shootout over Denver.
• Omaha dealt top-seed and first-round opponent Western Illinois its only league loss of the season, defeating the Leathernecks 3-1 on Oct. 5 in The Summit League opener for both.

2018 Championship Rewind
Semifinals
(1) Denver 1, (4) Eastern Illinois 0
(2) Omaha 1, (3) Purdue Fort Wayne 0

Final
(1) Denver 1, (2) Omaha 0

2019 Players of the Week
September 3
Offense: Reed Berry, Oral Roberts
Defense: Miles Motakef, Oral Roberts
September 9
Offense: Dante Brigida, Oral Roberts
Defense: Miles Motakef, Oral Roberts
September 16
Offense: Blake Cearns, Purdue Fort Wayne
Defense: Will Palmquist, Denver
September 23
Offense: Dante Brigida, Oral Roberts
Defense: Tor Erik Larsen, Purdue Fort Wayne
September 30
Offense: Juan Arias, Oral Roberts
Defense: Miles Motakef, Oral Roberts
October 7
Offense: Tanguy Guerineau, Oral Roberts
Defense: Gustavo Vargas, Oral Roberts
October 14
Offense: Paul Kirdorf, Western Illinois
Defense: Gonzalo Ledesma, Omaha
October 21
Offense: Ryan DeBois, Western Illnois
Defense: Tim Trilk, Western Illinois
October 28
Offense: Tanguy Guerineau, Oral Roberts
Defense: Jacob Stennson, Denver
November 4
Offense: Preston Judd, Denver
Defense: Miles Motakef, Oral Roberts

Follow The Summit League
SOCIAL: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: #ReachTheSummit | #SummitMSOC