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University of Denver 2014 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Denver
Conference – Summit League
Coach – Bobby Muuss (Eighth Season)
Background – The Pioneers completed a banner 2013 season with a 13-3-4 overall record that included a 6-0-0 mark in their inagural season in the Summit League. They won both the Summit League regular season and tournament titles and earned the programs fourth berth in the NCAA Tournament and third since the 2008 season. The thirteen wins was a new school record as was the eleven shutouts they recorded. The 2013 season came to an end for Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when they were topped by Louisville 3-2 in penalty kicks after 110 minutes of scoreless play.  The Pioneers ended the season with a fifteen match undefeated streak. Forward Zach Bolden was named the Summit League Offensive Player of the Year.  Back Theodor Remman was named the Summit League Defensive Player of the Year and goalkeeper Oliver Brown was named the Summit League Goalkeeper of the Year.  In addition forward/midfielders Cole Chapleski, Reid Hukari and Jordon Schweitzer and defender Blair Jeralds were also named to the All-Summit League First Team.  Midfielder Brian Hoyt was named to the All-Summit League Second Team.  Defender Reagan Dunk, forward Eric Kronenberg and midfielder Kyle Morlack were named to the Summit League All-Newcomer Team.  
Offense – The Pioneers face the challenge of replaceing forward/midfielder Zach Bolden who concluded his tenure at Denver as one of the most productive players in school history.  Bolden (10g, 9a), the 2013 Summit League Offensive Player of the Year, had seventeen career goals and twenty-two career assists.  The Pioneers also lose midfielder Cole Chapleski (4g, 3a) due to graduation.  With Bolden gone, it is unclear as to who will emerge to be the centerpiece of the Pioneer attack in 2014. It could be offense by committee. Denver is loaded with skill players which means that Muuss will have a lot of different lineup options.  Seniors Reid Hukari (4g, 5a) and Kosta Kordistos (2g, 1a), juniors Chandler Crosswait (2g, 2a) and Karsten Hanlin (2g, 0a) and sophomore Eric Kronenberg (3g, 0a) 2g are among a contingent of returning players who should battle for time up-top.   Junior Jordan Schweitzer (0g, 2a) returns to set the pace of the attack in the center midfiedler role. Senior Brian Hoyt (1g, 6a) also looks to play a prominent role in the midfield. Sophomores Kyle Morlack (3g, 1a) and Sam Hamilton (1g, 0a) are among other returning linkmen who will seek to play a greater role in 2014. Newcomers graduate student Kyle Emerson and senior Teddy Mullin who transfer in from Wake Forest have the potential to add an additional element to the attack up-top or in the midfield. Freshman forward Cole Stevenson who played club with Sporting Kansas City and freshman midfielder Alex Underwood out of the Chicago Fire Academy are among others who should push for minutes. Look for Denver to apply pressure on their opponents on the offensive side of the ball with an attack oriented mindset that includes pushing numbers forward to gain a numeric advantage whenever the opporutnity exists.     
Defense – Some reloading is required on the defensive side of the ball due to the graduation of backs Theodor Remman, the 2013 Summit League Defensive Player of the Year, and Blair Jeralds and the fact that senior Oliver Brown, the 2013 Summit League Goalkeeper of the Year, who has been the starter in goal for the past three seasons is expected to sit out the 2014 season due to injury.  Senior Taylor Hunter will anchor the defense at the center back role. Hunter is among the seniors who will set the pace for the entire team.  Senior Ryan Dodson will also likely play a key role in the back but could also make a signficant contribution to the attack up-top. Sophomore Reagan Dunk gained valuable starting experience last year and is among other returning backs who should figure prominently in the Pioneer defense. Redshirt junior Cody Thompson who played in three contests last year at Denver and Ryan Massey who transfers in from High Point University and freshman Nick Gardner who played for the Charlotte Soccer Academy will battle for the starting role between the pipes. Organization and focus remain critical success factors for Denver on the defensive side of the ball as they seek to gell as a unit.     

Newcomers – Three and A Half Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Muuss stated, "Once again my staff and I went after the direct needs of the program and I think we were able to put together one of the most complete classes in the country.  We not only got very good competitive players, we have added great young men to the Pioneer family."

Scott DeVoss – Defender – Prairie Village, Kansas – Arapahoe High School – Played club soccer for Real Colorado.  

Kyle Emerson – Midfielder – Houston, Texas – Cypress Woods High School – Fifth year graduate student transfering from Wake Forest.  Named to ACC All-Freshman Team.  

Kortne Ford – Defender – Olathe, Kansas – Greeley Central High School – Played club soccer for Colorado Rapids Academy.  All-State and All-Conference selection.

A.J. Fuller – Defender – Littleton, Colorado – Heritage High School – Played club soccer for the Colorado Rush Development Academy.  Member of Colorado U-16 ODP team.

Nick Gardner – Goalkeeper – Marvin, North Carolina – Charlotte Latin School – Played for the Charlotte Soccer Academy.  Three-time CISAA All-Conference seleciton. All-State selection.  

Ryan Massey – Goalkeeper – Bethesda, Maryland – Gonzaga College High School – Transfer from High Point University.  Played club for AC Bethesda.  WCAC All-Conference selection.  Played in seven games for High Point.  

Alex Underwood – Midfielder – Winnetka, Illinois – New Tier High School – Played for Chicago Fire Academy.  Two-Time First Team All-Conference.  

Cole Stevenson – Forward – Leawood, Kansas – Rockhurst High School – Played club for Sporting Kansas City.  Missouri Class 3A Western Region Honorable Mention. Netted 22 goals in two seasons in high school.     

Prognosis for 2014 – Denver will enter the 2014 season seeking to build on the success that they enjoyed last year.  This is a confident team that appears highly motivated and hungry to accomplish more. Many of the pieces appear to be in place but Denver does have some uncertainties to deal with due to the graduation of All-Summit Leage First Team members forward Zach Bolden, midfielder Cole Chapleski and defenders Theodor Remman and Blair Jeralds. The loss of goalkeepr Oliver Brown for the season due to injury also raises concerns about the experience level between the pipes. The Pioneers return a lot of skilled field players which is a big plus but unitl the season gets underway and a replacement for the offensive firepower that Bolden brought to the pitch emerges it is diffiuclt to get a handle on how productive the Denver attack will be. Junior Jordan Schweitzer is a playmaker in the midfield and when on his game can hold his own with anyone. Senior Taylor Hunter will be the pacesetter in the back.  Muuss has proven to be a good fit for Denver both on the recruiting trail and in terms of style of play.  He and his staff appear to have refined their selection criteira over the years to better align with the brand of soccer and the identity that Denver seeks to achieve. Denver clearly has the potential to become the standard bearer in the Summit League but by no means is the success that the program enjoyed last year in conference play a given. The Pioneers have a tricky early season schedule that includes contests at home wieh Cal State Northridge and Navy and on the road with UC Irvine and San Diego State.  They also have difficult non-conference match-ups in October at Bradley and at South Florida. The Pioneers may not win as many games as they did last year but this team definitely has the potential to again be an NCAA Tourney team and in fact should not be satisfied with anything less than that.    
Posted in 2014 Team Reviews

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