#32 Denver Women's Soccer 2013 Preview

Denver Pioneers

Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank: #1 Summit
#32 Denver Women's Soccer 2013 Preview
Denver Team Page


Denver had an unprecedented run in 2012. The Pioneers made a huge statement on the national landscape of women’s college soccer by making it to their first ever-Sweet 16 in program history. The run was highlighted by an upset of ACC power Maryland and giving powerhouse Stanford a tough, hard-fought battle in Palo Alto. Denver now begins a journey in a new conference as the Pioneers move on to the Summit League. This team brings back plenty of hunger, drive and talent that is looking for even greater postseason success in 2013.

2012 Record: 17-3-4, 6-0-2 WAC
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jeff Hooker

Offensively the Pioneers should be very explosive once again. Kristen Hamilton, a senior forward, is one of the top strikers in the country. Hamilton’s 14 goals will set the tempo for this high-flying offense. Senior Nicholette DiGiacomo is another highly skilled playmaker. DiGiacomo had nine assists in 2012 and had the hat trick that took down the Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers are also very solid defensively giving up less than a goal per match last season. Senior defender Jessica Battelli will anchor the back line at center back. Her experience should help the Pioneers continue to build on the successes of 2012 defensively.

The Pioneers need to answer the question of replacing Lara Campbell, who was a second-team All-WAC Goalkeeper in 2012. Campbell had seven shutouts as well. There looks like a three-way battle may be in order to replace Campbell in goal this season. Senior Amelia Davis, sophomore Tina Vargas, and freshman Cassidy Rey will all compete for playing time in 2013.  The other big challenge will be dealing with a new conference and teams unfamiliar to the Pioneers. In addition, Denver will not be able to sneak up on anyone nationally so the Pioneers can also expect everyone’s best shot each match. The travel within the new conference will be an interesting storyline to see if there are any negative effects at all for the Pioneers.

Final Projection:  
The Pioneers should be able to adjust quickly as they begin their journey in the Summit League and should be the front runner to win the conference championship. The non-conference slate is where the Pioneers are really going to have to do some damage again in order to help their RPI.  The stretch from September 8 through September 26, when the Pioneers play four BCS schools and powerhouse BYU on the road, will be a tremendous opportunity for Denver to make a big statement regarding their tournament seeding. The combination of Hamilton and DiGiacomo offensively should be enough once again to carry the Pioneers into the NCAA Tournament. If the Pioneers can rattle off wins against Colorado, BYU, Colorado College and others in the non-conference schedule, they could possibly threaten to be in position to host an opening round match in the NCAA Tournament in 2013.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Kristen Hamilton, Senior, Forward, 14
Assists: Nicholette DiGiacomo, Senior, Midfield, 5
Shots: Kristen Hamilton, Senior, Forward, 70
Saves: None

Madness 2014 NWSL Draft Rankings:
#19 Nicholette DiGiacomo
#28 Kristen Hamilton


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