In the brisk evening air of Saturday, October 22nd at 7pm, the University of Denver Men’s Soccer team faced off against the Oral Roberts University Men’s team. Exuberant fans that gathered above the bright green field were bathed in radiant white light, making for a scene of classic Americana.
Chilled bleachers, sweaty athletes and moms who packed extra Gatorade. It was the Pioneers versus the Golden Eagles. It was sports on a Saturday night in the United States.
Currently, the Denver Men’s Soccer team is on a remarkable hot streak. The final score of Saturday’s game was 2-0 in DU’s favor, which marks the 33rd win in a row for the team.
The win was also this season’s 10th blowout game in which DU’s opponents didn’t score at all.
At the game, I spotted a student garbed in jersey standing next to the fence, snapping shots with a official-looking DSLR camera. He identified himself as Harris Newton, a sophomore studying Business who dabbles in sports photography.
He keeps a particularly keen eye on Men’s Soccer, attending all the home games this season and consistently tracking their record. Before the match even started, Newton was optimistic about the outcome, considering the team’s undeniable heat.
“It’s awesome. Their [the team’s] streak actually dates back to Halloween of 2014,” Newton excitedly explains.
During the front half, the University of Denver played strongly against Oral Roberts University, clearly bolstered by their stellar record. DU took 11 shots in total, with five of those shots landing on goal. This is compared to ORU’s single shot on goal.
Just after the 29th minute mark, senior Chandler Crosswait (Bedford, Texas) intercepted a pass and moved the ball onto his teammate, sophomore Andre Shinyashiki (São Paulo, Brazil). Shinyashiki then rifled the ball into the net from about 50 feet out.
As the second half crawled on into the night, the Pioneers kept up their strength while the Golden Eagles fought harder than before.
DU let off another seven shots with three on goal. After an unfortunate first half, the Golden Eagles rallied by pushing to three shots on goal. Despite the resistance, DU still held the upper-hand for much of the second act.
The advantage was further clinched at the 49th minute, when junior Blake Elder (Ft. Worth, Texas) arched in another goal for DU off of a corner kick by senior Karsten Hanlin (Centennial, Colo.).
As the game drew to a close, it was clear that the University of Denver would grab another victory for its streak. When the final horn rolled across the field, signaling the end of the match, fans lept up in camaraderie.
Afterwards, I caught up with Harris Newton as he surveyed his shots from the game.
“Our team excels because they work together as a unit. Same thing for this game,” he comments.
According to the official University of Denver Men’s Soccer team website, head coach Jamie Franks was pleased with the win.
He says that for this game, the players were dedicating their ambitions to the seniors of the team. Their efforts payed off.
“Tonight the boys were sharp, focused and were playing for a bigger purpose,” Frank said.