ORU, Denver battle for first on senior night
TULSA, Okla. – The Oral Roberts University men’s soccer team plays the first of two crucial Summit League contests on Saturday as the Golden Eagles host Denver in a match that could decide the conference regular season championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., with senior night activities taking place prior to kickoff.
ORU (6-6-3, 3-1-0) is currently a game behind Denver (9-3-3, 4-0-0) for first place in the Summit League standings. Both teams clinched a Summit League Tournament spot with victories last weekend.
The Golden Eagles are unbeaten in nine of their previous 11 matches, including consecutive victories against Omaha and Central Arkansas.
Last Saturday, Wayne Farmer netted the game-winner with nine seconds remaining to knock off Omaha, 2-1. Two days later, senior Marco Hernandez scored with 1:47 remaining in regulation, and Griffith Poindexter converted a header in the second overtime to send off UCA, 2-1.
The ORU defense has been huge this season as the Golden Eagles have only allowed 16 goals. The 2004 and 2005 squads set a program record for fewest goals allowed in a season with 21.
A big part of that success is Isaac Sandoval. Taking over midway through the season, Sandoval has only allowed four goals in almost 700 minutes of action between the posts. Sandoval’s .875 save percentage leads the league and is eighth in the NCAA, while his .055 goals against average leads the conference and is ranked 12th in the nation.
Denver’s defense has also been strong this season as they are the only team in the league that has allowed fewer goals than the Golden Eagles. In four matches, the Pioneers are outscoring Summit League opponents, 12-0. They are currently on a four-match winning streak, shutting out each opponent.
Senior midfielder Zach Bolden is tied atop the conference with six assists, leads the league with 16 points and is tied for third with five goals.
Junior Oliver Brown is expected to start in goal for the Pioneers. He is currently second in the league behind Sandoval in goals against average (0.94), and is fourth with a .754 save percentage.
In a non-conference showdown last season in Denver, the Pioneers were victorious over the Golden Eagles, 4-0. Bolden scored a goal and added an assist in the match, while Brown earned the victory. The Golden Eagles are searching for their first ever victory against the Pioneers.
Live stats and free video are available for the match on ORUGoldenEagles.com.