Denver 1,  Butler 0
INDIANAPOLIS (denverpioneers.com) -- Redshirt-junior forward Blake Elder netted his sixth goal and second game-winner of the campaign as the [7/7] University of Denver men's soccer team kept its seventh cleansheet in eight matches to give the Pioneers a 1-0 win at [9/9] Butler on Monday night at the Butler Bowl.
"The thing over the course of the last year and a half that I have learned about my group is the bigger the game, the better the performance that they bring to the table," second year head coach Jamie Franks said. "Tonight was our best performance of the year, and I'm proud of the group, and the leadership shown in the middle of the park from Sam Hamilton and Graham Smith tonight."
Butler (8-3-1, 3-1-0 BIG EAST) had a 4-3 shot edge in the first half, taking its first three shots inside the first 12 minutes. Denver (11-0-2, 3-0-0 Summit) grabbed its three first half shots in a three minute span from the 16th to 19th with junior Alex Underwood putting the only shot on target for either team in the 16th minute. Neither team took another shot, until Butler's Isaac Galliford corked one high with 16 seconds to go in the opening 45 minutes. The Pioneers took the only three corner kicks of the first half.
After Denver had a good spell of two shots and a corner in the early stages of the second half, Butler's Lewis Suddick got the first shot on goal against the Pioneers in 267 minutes and 27 seconds in the 54th minute, a shot redshirt sophomore Nick Gardner kept out.
Coming off the bench tonight for the first time since his freshman campaign, redshirt-senior right back Reagan Dunk created the Elder second-half breakthrough with his fifth assist of the campaign down the right channel. Dunk got the ball into Elder, who slid his shot past the diving arms of Eric Dick.
Gardner would be called upon to make another save in the 79th minute en route to his 10th career shutout.
The visitors would be outshot 10-8 on the night, but the Pioneers took eight of the 10 corner kicks in the match and drew 17 Butler fouls.
Monday's top-10 win is also the fifth in Summit League history, and the first since 2008 (UMKC at Creighton). Butler also entered Monday at No. 6 in the RPI.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Celebrating its 35th season of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four 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), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), 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. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.