Sept. 25, 2014
DENVER - After a challenging non-league slate that included three nationally ranked teams, the Denver men's soccer team begins defense of their Summit League title Saturday evening by welcoming the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts University to CIBER Field.
"If we want to reach our program's goals and team's goals of doing well in the post-season we have to play some of the best teams around," said veteran Pioneers head coach Bobby Muuss. "Our first three or four games were against tournament participants from a year ago. It builds confidence but also exposes you at the same time so you get to learn a lot about yourselves and hopefully be able to fix some things come conference play."
The Pioneers have recorded a 5-3-0 mark in preparation for the Summit League and after last year's stellar showing in conference play DU will be in the crosshairs of every league opponent this season. Including the Summit League tournament, Denver was 8-0 against league foes while outscoring them by an incredible 22-1 margin. The only team to score against DU was Western Illinois.
"I think we got every team's best shot last year in some aspects," Muuss said. "I don't think we really snuck up on anybody. I like our chances as long as we continue to get better. Our goal each year is to continue to get better and peak at the right times."
Oral Roberts, which finished second in league play a year ago, enters Saturday's match with a 3-2-1 record and is coming off a wild 4-3 overtime win over Houston Baptist on Monday.
Last November, the Pioneers knocked off the Golden Eagles 2-0 in Tulsa, scoring both goals in the second half just 1:23 apart. Zach Bolden and Brian Hoyt each scored to back the shutout effort of goalkeeper Oliver Brown. It was the fifth meeting between the schools and fifth victory for the Pioneers.
"We're not the same group as last year," Muuss explained. "Oral Roberts isn't the same team as last year. We're not the same team as last year. We have to play our very best to win games."
Denver is 5-0 at CIBER Field this season and will look to win their 12th straight match on their home pitch. Kickoff for Saturday night's Summit League opener is slated for 7 o'clock.
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