#27 Denver Women's Soccer 2014 Preview

Denver Pioneers

Overall Rank: #27
#1 Summit
#27 Denver Women's Soccer 2014 Preview
Denver Team Page


The reigning Summit League Champion Denver Pioneers will face a bit of a reloading process to start the 2014 season. Denver lost eight seniors led by Kristen Hamilton and Ncholette DiGiacomo but still are in position to be the preseason favorite to win the Summit League once again in 2014 and get back to the NCAA Tournament.

2013 Record: 18-2-1, 7-0
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jeff Hooker

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Francesca Garzelloni, Sophomore, M, 7
Assists: Anna Willis, Senior, F, 5
Shots: Francesca Garzelloni, Sophomore, M, 30
Saves: Cassidy Rey, Sophomore, GK, 67

Other Key Returnees: F Taylor Ivins, M Brooke Boothe, D Sam Harder, D Paige Diamond, D Shelby Wesley

Key Losses: F Kristen Hamilton, M Nicholette Digiacomo, M Nikki Pappalardo, M Shannen Johnson, D Cassidy Larson, D Jessy Battelli, D Sara Riazi, D Jacey Birtcher

This program is battle tested and is not intimidated by playing programs from the big five conferences. The defense was outstanding a year ago and brings back goalkeeper Cassidy Rey to lead a backline that will take some time early to form its chemistry. The ability to be consistent at home and on the road is another key strength of the Pioneer program. Last season, Denver went 7-1-1 away from CIBER Field, which is impressive considering that most of their road matches are played closer to sea-level.

The attack is going to need some reloading as half of the 54 goals scored by Denver was lost to the graduation of Kristen Hamilton and Nicholette DiGiacomo. It is going to be up to duo of midfielder Francesca Garzelloni and forward Anna Willis to boost their goal scoring this season from the 12 goals that they combined for last season. The lack of stiff competition in the Summit League is something that the Pioneers are going to have to overcome as it will be several weeks without playing tough competition leading up to the NCAA Tournament.

Final Projection:
The Pioneers have a very balanced non-conference schedule that will test them in preparation for the postseason. Denver plays Texas Tech on August 16th in the exhibition season and has two key rivalry matchups with Colorado College and Colorado in Boulder that will be huge contests. In addition, the trifecta of matches against Kansas, Iowa State, and BYU will be critical to get results in for building Denver’s RPI for the selection committee. Overall, the Pioneers might not be as dominant as a team across the board early in the season. But, there is still enough talent in the program to get results against power conference teams and keep Denver among the best mid-major programs in women’s college soccer.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 2.57 (7th in nation, 1st in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.469 (6, 1)
Shutout Percentage: 0.619 (11, 1)
Save Percentage:  0.891 (4, 1)


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