Denver Defeats North Dakota State to Earn NCAA Tournament Bid

Denver Pioneers, the 2013 Summit League Women's Soccer Champions (photo by Lucas Carter)
Denver Pioneers, the 2013 Summit League Women's Soccer Champions (photo by Lucas Carter)

Women's Soccer Championship Page

The Basics
Score: No. 1 Denver 5, No. 3 North Dakota State 1
Records: Denver (18-1-1), North Dakota State (9-10-0)
Location: Hefner Soccer Complex - Fort Wayne, Ind.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- No. 1 Denver captured The Summit League Women's Soccer Championship title with a 5-1 victory over No. 3 North Dakota State Sunday afternoon at the Hefner Soccer Complex.

All six goals scored in the match occurred in the first half. The Pioneers recorded a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes to take an early 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish as Kristen Hamilton and Nicholette DiGiacomo teamed up on the goals. Hamilton scored the first goal off a feed from DiGiacomo in the seventh minute. At the 9:17 mark, Hamilton returned the favor to DiGiacomo who to netted the eventual game-winner.

Just over a minute later in the 11th minute, North Dakota State's Anisha Kinnarath made it a 2-1 match as she beat the Denver goalie to the right side. Lauren Miller was credited with the assist.

The Pioneers added three insurance goals to close out the first half. Francesca Garzelloni scored two goals, in the 27th and 45th minutes, respectively. Hamilton, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, tallied her fourth goal of the tournament in the 42nd minute.

Turning Point
Denver netted a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes of the match, which proved to be all the Pioneers needed to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. The tandem of Kristen Hamilton and Nicholette DiGiacomo struck in the seventh and 10th minutes of the match. DiGiacomo's goal in the 10th minute was the eventual game-winning tally.

North Dakota State's Anisha Kinnarath cut the Denver lead in half as she scored the lone Bison goal just 1:03 after DiGiacomo's goal. Denver's Francesca Garzelloni then added an insurance goal for the Pioneers in the 27th minute to seal the victory.

Inside The Box Score

  • Denver held a 15-7 shot advantage and 5-3 corner kick advantage in the match.
  • North Dakota State goalkeeper Sierra Bonham made six saves in the match.
  • There were six combined goals scored in the first half while no goals found the back of the net in the second half.
  • Amelia Davis relieved starter Cassidy Rey in net, playing the final 18:13 for the Pioneers.

News & Notes

  • Denver's 18 wins this season are the most by any team in Summit League history.
  • Denver's Kristen Hamilton's nine points in the tournament sets a new league record.
  • With 24 points, the Pioneers set a new league record for points in a tournament.
  • The eight Denver assists in the tournament sets a new league record.
  • The 13 saves by North Dakota State's Sierra Bonham in the tournament is tied for second-most all-time.
  • NDSU's Anisha Kinnarath and Lauren Miller played a part in all three Bison goals in the tournament.
  • Nicholette DiGiacomo's three tournament assists tied a league record.
  • Kristen Hamilton's five points are tied for second all-time in a tournament match.
  • The eight Pioneer goals in the 2013 tournament ties a league record.

All-Tournament Team
Caylee Costello, South Dakota State
Nicholette DiGiacomo, Denver
Francesca Garzelloni, Denver
Kristen Hamilton, Denver (MVP)
Steph Jacobson, North Dakota State
Megan Kingston, South Dakota State
Anisha Kinnarath, North Dakota State
Lauren Miller, North Dakota State
Sam Pavlika, Fort Wayne
Delia Soucie, Fort Wayne
Shelby Wesley, Denver

Up Next
Denver earns The Summit League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Selection Show is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. MT Monday on