Since making the transition to Division I four years ago, the Seattle University soccer program has taken a fast track to success.
Soccer was chosen in addition to basketball to be fast tracked to the new division, prior to other teams. Since then, the Redhawks have been on the ball, making themselves heard within the division. In their inaugural Division I seasons, the men finished with eight wins, while the women finished with an unprecedented 12.
The seniors of Seattle University women’s soccer pose together. The women’s and men’s soccer seniors are the first class to graduate after four years of DI athletics.
Both seasons proved to the university and the opposition that Seattle U soccer “wants to fill the trophy case.”
According to the teams’ websites, the soccer program has raked in 58 wins over the last four years, a shockingly high number given the youth of both teams. Their success can be attributed to excellent coaching, and a program that stresses consistency and competitiveness according to women’s associated head coach Rich Schreiner “In Division I every game is a tough game. You’re not going out every five or six games knowing you’ve got a win in your pocket, every team is going to compete with you, so we’ve got to be prepared for every game,” said Schreiner.
A good indicator for the success of the program came two years ago, when the women’s team defeated highly favored University of Portland 2-0. With Portland ranked number eight in the country, and Seattle U’s Division I program only two years young, Portland was Goliath to Seattle U’s David.
“We were underdogs coming in against the number eight team in the country. It was a huge upset for them, and a huge achievement for us,” said senior Julia Besagno regarding the win.
Besagno is one of the first seniors to complete a full cycle in the Division I program and describes her experience as meaningful.
“When I applied to Seattle U, I was aware that the program was in a transitional period to Division I. I knew it would be interesting joining a program in flux, and it’s been special helping to build a successful program from the ground floor up,” Besagno said.
Now, four years removed from their rookie seasons, the seniors of both teams are set to square off in their final home games of the season. The women will be facing Idaho while the men take on San Jose State. The Redhawks will go into both games expecting wins. San Jose State is wrapping up a dismal season and Idaho has struggled to win games for majority of the year, whereas both Seattle U teams are enjoying commendable successActually, the women’s team has enjoyed more than modest success, having already racked up eleven wins over only two losses so far this season.
Besagno attributes a large portion of their success to the same qualities that the program has stressed over her four years–competiveness and consistency. With so much mutual understanding and evenness throughout the program, it is no wonder there has been such a high level of achievement.
Keeper Jake Feener speaks of the equality of the team, stating that “the freshmen and sophomores are stepping into leadership roles, which show you how inclusive the atmosphere of the team is. Everyone will have a chance to lead at one point, it’s not as if all the attention is focused on a select group of seniors.”
Meanwhile, the men’s team is in the middle of a maturing season. While they suffered a rough couple of weeks toward the beginning of the year, their record is substantially improving as the season comes to a close.
Seattle U soccer is a young, but potent force in Division I. Thanks to the efforts of players and coaches alike, the program is quickly building a successful legacy. Coaches of both teams encourage students to come out and watch the teams in their final home games, not just to watch a win, but also to honor the seniors who will be leaving teams that they have helped to build over the last four years. The women and men will play on Friday and Saturday at 3 and 7 p.m. respectively.
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