Big second half lifts Arizona past Denver in NCAA Tournament

Denver saw its season come to a close Friday night after a 3-0 loss to Arizona in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Denver saw its season come to a close Friday night after a 3-0 loss to Arizona in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

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TUCSON – The University of Denver women's soccer team suffered a 3-0 loss at [RV/24] Arizona in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium.

The Pioneers had the best chance of the opening 45 minutes as a long ball over the top of the Arizona back four put freshman Samantha Feller in on a breakaway. Feller dribbled nicely around goalkeeper Lainey Burdett, but Feller's shot was cleared off the line by Wildcats' defender Hallie Pearson to keep the match level in the 42nd minute. Feller pressed high up the field to create Denver its third corner of the half in the 45th minute, but Arizona cleared its lines and sent the match into halftime at 0-0.
In the first half, Denver extended its shutout streak that began in the final minutes of a 3-1 win at Purdue Fort Wayne on October 11 past 500 minutes after holding Arizona off the scoreboard in the opening 45 minutes. Entering Friday's NCAA First Round, Denver had outscored its opponents 14-0 in that span.
Feller created an opportunity for the Pioneers in the 51st minute, slipping in sophomore Meg Halvorson behind the Wildcats back four, but Halvorson's shot was kept out by Burdett for her first official save of the night.
Arizona found the breakthrough in the 53rd minute when Kennedy Kieneker finished her third of the season on a bouncing ball in the six-yard box off a cross from Jill Aguilera. The Arizona breakthrough ended Denver's shutout streak at 536 minutes.
In the 57th minute, junior goalkeeper Brittany Wilson came out to intercept a long through ball, but her momentum after catching the ball carried her just outside the penalty area setting up a free kick for Arizona. Amanda Porter converted the 58th-minute free kick just outside the penalty area, blasting it just under the crossbar.
Arizona scored its third goal of the second half from the penalty spot in the 74th minute to extend the home side's advantage. Kelcey Cavarra netted the spot kick for her first goal of the year.
Denver ended its season at 13-6-2 after winning a pair of trophies in the previous two weeks, capturing the Pioneers second Summit League regular season title in three years and their second-straight Summit League Tournament Title. The NCAA Tournament appearance was Denver's 11th overall and its second in as many seasons. Denver's 13 wins in 2018 is the program's most since going 18-2-1 in the 2013 campaign.