Denver, Omaha Set for #SummitMSOC Title Rematch

photos by Mark Kuhlmann
photos by Mark Kuhlmann

Men's Soccer Championship Page | Bracket (PDF)

Match 1 - The Basics
Score: No. 1 Denver 1, No. 4 Eastern Illinois 0
Records: Denver (11-6-1), Eastern Illinois (4-9-6)
Location: Caniglia Field - Omaha, Neb.

Video highlights courtesy of Omaha Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. – Top-seeded Denver scored a 1-0 semifinal victory over No. 4 Eastern Illinois Thursday afternoon at Caniglia Field in Omaha, Neb.

In the 39th minute, Newcomer of the Year Jacob Stensson served a ball past the Eastern Illinois backline to senior forward Blake Elder. Elder gathered it and put it past Eastern Illinois goalie Mike Novotny giving the Pioneers a 1-0 lead it would not relinquish.

The Panthers started the second half with a more offensive mindset only to be turned away by Denver, the league's best defensive unit. In the 63rd minute, Simeon Packer gave EIU its best scoring opportunity as he drilled a shot high from the top of the left side of the box.

Denver controlled much of the first half with an 8-3 shot advantage and 5-1 shot on goal edge.

Turning Point
With just under seven minutes remaining in the first half, Denver's Blake Elder slipped a ball past Goalkeeper of the Year Mike Novotny for the eventual game-winning goal.

Inside The Box Score

  • Omaha held a 16-5 shot advantage in the match and a 7-0 corner kick advantage.
  • Attendance for the first semifinal match was 217.
  • Blake Elder and Andre Shinyashiki led the Pioneers with three shots apiece, while Zach Medawattage led the Panthers with two.
  • Denver held an 11-5 shot advantage and 4-2 edge in corner kicks
  • Eastern Illinois goalkeeper Mike Novotny secured five saves with his counterpart, Nick Gardner, making two stops.

News & Notes

  • Denver improves to 9-0-0 all-time in Summit League Tournament play.
  • The top seed has advanced to the championship match for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Eastern Illinois falls to 0-3-0 all-time in league tournament history.
  • The Pioneers advance to their fifth consecutive Summit League Tournament championship match

Match 2 - The Basics
Score: No. 3 Omaha 2, No. 2 Western Illinois 0
Records: Western Illinois (5-10-1), Omaha (10-5-2)
Location: Caniglia Field - Omaha, Neb.

Video highlights courtesy of Omaha Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. – A pair of goals by Omaha sophomore forward Fred Frimpong propelled the Mavericks to a 2-0 win over Western Illinois Thursday night at Caniglia Field on the campus of the University of Nebraska Omaha.

Frimpong netted the eventual game-winner in the 13th minute displaying some nifty footwork on a ball put into the box by Emmanuel Hamzat and finished it low past the WIU goalie, Tim Trilk.

Down 1-0 at halftime, the Fighting Leathernecks went on the offensive attack with a pair of quick shots, one saved by Omaha's Joseph Ghitis and the other just wide of the net. Western Illinois junior forward Drew Whalen narrowly missed a header coming from a corner kick in the 59th minute with Ghitis up for the challenge making a diving stop.

Two minutes later, Frimpong added an insurance goal as he corraled a breakaway ball and finished it between Trilk's legs for the score.

Turning Point
Holding a 1-0 lead and receiving pressure from Western Illinois from the start of the second half, Omaha's Fred Frimpong scored an insurance goal, his second of the match, putting the game out of reach.

Inside The Box Score

  • Omaha held a 16-10 shot advantage in the match and a narrow 7-6 corner kick edge.
  • Diego Gutierrez led the Mavericks with four shots, while Paul Kirdorf and Drew Whalen each had three for the Fighting Leathernecks.
  • Attendance was 563.
  • Western Illinois goalie Tim Trilk had four saves with Omaha's Joseph Ghitis collecting three.
  • A total of four yellow cards were issued in the match.
  • Omaha's Fred Frimpong's goals were the first of his career.

News & Notes

  • Omaha advances to its second consecutive Summit League Tournament championship match.
  • Western Illinois falls in the semifinal round for the third consecutive season after advancing to the championship match the four previous years (2011-14).
  • The Mavericks improve to 2-2-0 all-time in tournament history, while Western Illinois falls to 16-10-2 all-time.
  • The Leathernecks conclude their season with a 5-10-1 overall record.

Up Next
Top-seeded Denver tangles with host and No. 3 Omaha for The Summit League Tournament title Saturday at 2 p.m. CT from Caniglia Field in Omaha, Neb. This marks the second consecutive year Denver and Omaha have battled for the crown. Denver earned a 2-1 victory in the Mile High City last season.

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.