Pioneer rookies lead Denver into #SummitWSOC Championship final

Denver freshman Natalie Beckman score the first goal on a penalty to help the Pioneers get to the championship match.
Denver freshman Natalie Beckman score the first goal on a penalty to help the Pioneers get to the championship match.

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Video: Denver Head Coach Jeff Hooker | Highlights

The Basics

Score: No. 2 Denver 3, No. 3 North Dakota State 0
Records: Denver (12-5-2), North Dakota State (9-7)
Location: Fishback Soccer Complex

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Denver got its three goals from a trio of rookies as the second-seeded Pioneers blanked third-seeded North Dakota State 3-0 in Thursday's second semifinal at the #SummitWSOC Championship. With the win, the Pioneers earned the right to defend their 2017 tournament title as they advanced to the finals for the second consecutive year.

Natalie Beckman scored DU's first goal on a penalty after the Bison were called for a handball in the box during the 19th-minute. That would be the only tally of the half for either team as DU took a 1-0 advantage into the break.

"They came at us and came out very well-prepared," Denver head coach Jeff Hooker said. "I thought their coaching staff did a great job of putting together a game plan based on watching us a play a little bit. They successfully took some of the things away that we wanted to do. The penalty early was nice."

Freshman of the Year Samantha Feller did not take long to extend Denver's halftime advantage as she scored her ninth goal of the campaign just over a minute following the break. Feller's connection made it a 2-0 contest and came off a cross from defender Cheyenne Shorts.

Camryn MacMillan became the third of DU's first-year players to net a goal when she one-timed a cross from Meg Halvorson to push the lead to 3-0 in the 77th-minute.

Mariah Haberle had a team-high five shots for NDSU with two of those coming on goal, but the Bison could not get anything past DU goalkeeper Brittany Wilson, who picked up her ninth shutout of the season.

Denver will play fourth-seeded Omaha in Saturday's title match set for Noon CT at the Fishback Soccer Complex.

Turning point

  • Denver took advantage of a hand-ball penalty on North Dakota State in the box to take a 1-0 lead. Natalie Beckman converted the penalty for her second goal of the season. 

Inside the box score

  •  Denver held just a 14-13 edge in shots, but nine of those were on goal while the Bison only made Denver goalkeeper Brittany Wilson make four saves.

New & Notes

  • This is Denver's second-consecutive appearance in The Summit League Championship title game. The Pioneers beat NDSU 2-1 in the 2017 match. 
  • Samantha Feller scored her ninth goal of the season and took the team lead in points with 20. 
  • Rookies have now scored 19 of Denver's 34 goals on the season.
  • Denver defeated Omaha 3-1 on its home pitch during the regular season matchup between the two finalists