Omaha men’s soccer unable to pull out victory against top-ranked Summit League opponent

Senior Sokol Ymeraj gestures during Wednesdays’ game versus Denver University. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Ryan/Omaha Athletics

Omaha was handed their first shutout loss as Denver University defended their home pitch in a 1-0 victory Wednesday. The Mavericks controlled the ball for the majority of the match, but it wasn’t enough as none of their 22 shots (six on goal) found the back of the net.

The Mavericks were quickly given the opportunity to convert a corner kick, but their chance to strike within the first 30 seconds of the match was squandered as the Mavericks were unable to convert. This early opportunity was an indicator of how the first 25 minutes of the match would go. The Mavericks had control of the ball for a large portion of that timeframe.

A corner kick proved to be the demise of the Mavericks as the Pioneers converted one towards the end of the first half. A shot from the Pioneers ricocheted off the post and onto Swedish sophomore midfielder Holger Olsson’s foot for the only goal of the match.

The Mavericks boasted a 7-5 shot lead and a 6-1 advantage on corner kicks, but had nothing to show for it by the end of the half. Denver’s single goal was enough to put the Mavericks away despite their continued second half fight.

The Mavericks gave themselves quite a few good looks, but solid Pioneer defense along with some unlucky bounces forced them to remain scoreless for the entirety of the match. Junior Naz Astwood’s defensive effort represented the Mavericks’ fight as a couple of his saves by the net were responsible in part for holding the Pioneers to just one goal.

The Mavericks and junior forward Theo Klein had one last good chance at an equalizer in the final minutes of the match, but Klein’s corner kick attempt found the post instead of the net.

Junior goalie Nathanael Sallah had six saves on the day, but the loss dragged his record to 3-3-1 on the year. Fellow German forward Ede Gramberg saw his largest role in the offense this year as he had a career-high six shots with three on net.

The loss against the Summit League’s best team puts the Mavericks in third place in Summit League standings as their Summit League record falls to 2-2-1. Their overall record fell below .500 as it has fallen to 5-6-4. The Mavericks take on Kansas City

on Oct. 21 in another Summit League battle where a win would cement their place in the top half of the Summit League for the time being.