DENVER (denverpioneers.com) -- Redshirt-senior winger Chandler Crosswait and sophomore Andre Shinyashiki converted a couple of set pieces for the sixth-seeded [4/3] University of Denver men's soccer team to send the Pioneers to the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory over 11th-seeded [14/20] Washington on Saturday evening at CIBER Field at the University of Denver soccer Stadium.
Denver advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the first time since 1970 to take on the winner of third-seeded Clemson and No. 14 Albany on Sunday at 4 p.m. MT. The higher seed remaining in the matchup will host the quarterfinals on campus.
The Pioneers (19-0-3) were one penalty-kick goal away from keeping their 14th clean sheet of the 2016 campaign, but a successful attempt from Steven Wright kept the match interesting as the Huskies (14-7-0) threw numbers forward in the second half in an attempt to even the score.
Redshirt-senior Karsten Hanlin played a 25th-minute corner kick into the center of the penalty area to start the Pioneers' breakthrough chance. Junior centerback Kortne Ford headed the set piece from 12 yards out, sending his shot off the post, but Crosswait cleaned up the rebound from inside six-yards for his first goal of the season and the seventh of the redshirt-senior's career. Ford's assist was the third of his Pioneer career.
The Pioneers controlled the majority of the play in the opening 45 minutes, leading in shots 10-2 and taking six of the seven corner kicks awarded in the first half.
Redshirt-senior Blake Elder drew a foul 30 yards out to setup the Pioneers' second goal of the evening in the 66th minute. Hanlin played his second successful set piece of the night just inside the penalty spot to the head of Shinyashiki who scored his eighth goal of the season and the 13th of his two-year career to double Denver's lead in the second half.
While DU controlled the pace of play in the first half, Washington threw numbers forward after going two behind in the second, but the Huskies were denied by redshirt-sophomore Nick Gardner four times in the second 45 minutes.
Steven Wright converted from the spot in the 78th minute to cut the Denver advantage in half, but the Pioneers defense stood up to the onslaught in the final 12 minutes to see out their 40th victory at home in the last 43 matches.
- With the win, Denver advances to the quarterfinals since turning Division I in 1999.
- Denver is now 58-12-11 in the last four years, the fourth-best record in the country during that span.
- Denver is 40-1-2 in its last 43 matches at CIBER Field, and 47-3-4 since head coach Jamie Franks joined the staff as an assistant in 2012.
- Denver now has 19 wins, tied for the second most in Denver Men's Soccer history, behind only Denver's 20-win 1988 season in the NAIA.
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.