May 19, 2016
DENVER - The University of Denver men's soccer team will look to continue the momentum that took the Crimson and Gold through an unbeaten 2015 regular season into 2016, as the Pioneers play 18 regular season matches, including nine at CIBER Field at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium this fall.
" Our goal with this year's schedule was to create an extremely competitive slate that prepares us for must win games come November and December," head coach Jamie Franks said. "Although we are happy with our trips to the NCAA Tournament the past three years, I believe this group is ready for the next step to cement ourselves in the higher echelon of college soccer. Our goal is to host another NCAA Tournament home game at beautiful CIBER Field, where we have gone 35-2-3 over the last five years."
Denver will play nine non-league games against teams that finished in the top-100 of the RPI in 2015, with two of those opponents visiting the Mile High City.
The Pioneers start the 2016 slate with a four-game road swing, all against opponents in the top-76 of the RPI. DU begins the campaign with two games in three days in New Jersey with trips to Monmouth (Aug. 26) and Rutgers (Aug. 28). Denver will cap off that road swing with a two-game three day visit to Chicago to take on its second-straight Big Ten opponent in Northwestern (Sept. 2) before a return visit to Illinois Chicago (Sept. 4).
DU begins its 2016 home schedule with a four-game home stand against UC Riverside (Sept. 9), Bryant (Sept. 11), a return visit to CIBER Field for Saint Louis (Sept. 15) and North Florida (Sept. 17). Saint Louis and North Florida were both in the top-100 a year ago.
The Pioneers return to the road on Sept. 21 with a trip to the BIG EAST's Creighton, who spent most of the year in the top-10 a year ago.
Denver's Summit League schedule begins with a visit to Denver from IPFW (Sept. 24), before the Pioneers kick-start their second-longest road swing of the year with Summit League trips to Eastern Illinois (Oct. 1) and IUPUI (Oct. 7). DU will wrap-up the three-game stretch at its second BIG EAST foe on the schedule in Butler (Oct. 10).
"The administration at the University of Denver is very supportive of our program ' s ambition and this is truly demonstrated by our competitive schedule each year," Franks said. "With all the travel the 2016 schedule provides us, we felt it is important for our student-athletes to gain exposure to different cultures and areas of the country. We believe this is a fantastic way to help facilitate our ultimate aim of providing our student-athletes the best experience we can for them."
The Crimson and Gold return home for three-straight, this time two Summit League battles with an old conference match-up in between. Denver will start the home stand against league-rival Western Illinois (Oct. 15), before taking on old-MPSF rival New Mexico (Oct. 19). Denver closes out the three-home games in eight days stretch against Oral Roberts (Oct. 22).
DU wraps up the Summit League regular season with a trip to Omaha (Oct. 29) and closes the 2016 regular season with a home match against Portland (Nov. 3).
For the third-consecutive year, Denver will host the 2016 Summit League Championships at CIBER Field November 10-12.
"With the Summit League making up only six games on the schedule, it gives our program freedom to find 11-12 opponents outside of the league that present adversity and different challenges for my guys," Franks said. "Traveling to play two Big Ten teams (Northwestern & Rutgers) and two BIG EAST teams (Creighton & Butler) as well as playing traditional powers; Saint Louis, New Mexico, Portland and Monmouth, we feel we accomplished our goal with this schedule."
Denver graduates just two in goalkeeper Dan Jackson (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and defensive midfielder Jordan Schweitzer (Everett, Wash.) in 2016. Under first year head coach Jamie Franks, the Pioneers finished the regular season as the only unbeaten team in Division I, heading into the NCAA Tournament with a 15-0-3 record. The Pioneers dropped a 1-0 extra-time result to SMU in the second round of the postseason tournament, the farthest Denver has advanced in its Division I history.
The Pioneers added former Oregon State defensive midfielder Graham Smith (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and five incoming freshmen to their 2016 roster. Denver will play one exhibition at the Air Force Academy on August 20 before its 2016 season opener six days later.
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