Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Men’s soccer team qualifies for NCAA tournament

The men's soccer team qualified for the NCAA tournament. Their first game against UC-Santa Barbara is Nov. 18.

The University of Denver men’s soccer team will play the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos in Santa Barbara, Calif., in the first round of the NCAA tournament Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.

This marks the second NCAA tournament appearance for the Pioneers under Denver head coach Bobby Muuss, who also led DU to the 2008 NCAA tournament.

“We are thrilled to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament,” Muuss says. “The team worked hard all year to win our second Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular season championship, and I am happy the selection committee rewarded us with an at-large bid.”

Denver was 9-6-4 overall and 6-2-2 in the MPSF this year, winning their final four games to clinch the MPSF regular season crown, which DU also won in 2008. The Pioneers were upset in the conference tournament by host and eventual winner Sacramento State, which went on to repeat as tournament champions and earn the conference’s automatic bid in the NCAA tournament.

“It’s a testament to the character of this group to bounce back from a challenging start to the season to get back to the NCAA tournament,” Muuss says.

The winner of the game between the Pioneers and Gauchos will travel to Berkeley, Calif., to take on No. 6 seed California on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. MT. Denver played then-No. 14 Cal to a 2-2 tie after two overtimes on Sept. 24.

DU midfielder Jarod Stigall, a junior from Plano, Texas, leads the MPSF this season in assists (8) and points (26), and is second in goals (9). Nationally, Stigall ranks 22nd in points per game (1.44) and 24th in total assists. Goalkeeper Joe Willis, a senior from St. Louis, is fourth in the NCAA in save percentage (.871), 17th in goals against average (.701) and 24th in saves per game (4.91).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *