CLEMSON, S.C. (denverpioneers.com) -- Junior centerback Kortne Ford got on the end of a free kick in the 89th minute from junior winger Alex Underwood and headed in the match's only goal to send the Pioneers to their first ever College Cup with a 1-0 win over third-seeded [3/5] Clemson on Friday night in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Historic Riggs Field.
Denver advances to the national semifinal to play the winner of Wake Forest and Virginia Tech next Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas. Kickoff time will be announced by the NCAA tomorrow.
Friday night's cleansheet is Denver's 14th of the season, and the Pioneers' 20th victory ties a program record from the 1988 season (20-2-2/NAIA).
Redshirt-junior Blake Elder had Denver's (20-0-3) best chance from a scoreless first half, getting free on the top of the box in the 45th minute, but the Air Force transfer's shot was right at the goalkeeper. Denver took the only two corner kicks of the first half and had a 28-yard free kick just left of center in the opening 45. Clemson (14-4-5) had a 7-3 edge in shots in the stanza.
Underwood was in the left channel for the fifth assist of his 2016 campaign, and played the cross just outside the six-yard box. Ford beat an out-stretched keeper to the ball and ripped the back of the net with his fifth headed goal of the season.
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.