It goes without saying that this was an amazing season for the Seattle University men’s soccer team. After starting the year with an unspectacular preseason record of 0-6-1, the team progressed impressively through an undefeated season to the Western Athletic Conference(WAC) Championship.
The season climaxed on Sunday November 24 when flocks of Seattle U students filled the University of Washington stadium with Redhawk Red for the second game of the NCAA tournament. Although the Redhawks lost 4-2 to Washington, the game was an unprecedented show of spirit and determination for Seattle U athletics.
Michael Roberts headed the ball out of the Redhawks’ goal box early in the game against the University of Washington on Sunday Nov. 24, 2013. The Redhawks lost 4-2, but came back from losing 4-0 in the late second half.
“It was especially fun to play in front of our home fans,” said Jake Feener, goal-keeper for the Seattle U men’s team. “It really was kind of a home game for both teams. That was cool, with all the success we’ve had on the road lately, to finally play in front of the home crowd.”
The success of the men’s soccer team comes somewhat unexpectedly after the difficult preseason. With a large number of freshmen making Seattle U a young team, some expected this to be a rebuilding season for men’s soccer.
“The preseason schedule was a great test with the team playing on the East Coast and then coming back to play in California in great weather and then play Oregon State and University of Portland,” said men’s soccer coach Pete Fewing. “We had eight of our first ten games on the road and the great thing is our guys got a lot of experience from that. We figured out as coaches who should go in which position and we never gave up.”
The team came together in time for the regular season and proved that they have the resolve to succeed in Division I.
“The team is confident, determined, we’ve come together more,” Fewing said. “We started five freshmen during the middle of the season, and they’ve done extremely well. This season has forced the team into improving and the guys have risen to the occasion.”
In addition to winning the WAC Championship, individual players have also excelled with numerous awards throughout the season. Miguel Gonzalez, who scored both goals in the NCAA match against Creighton, was named WAC Offensive Player of the Year. Kyle Bjornethun was named WAC Freshman of the Year, and Coach Fewing was named WAC Coach of the Year. In addition, four members of the men’s team were named Featured Student-Athlete of the week this season by Seattle U.
Fewing agreed that the players showed excellent sportsmanship this season.
“The senior leadership sticks out for me, that’s a big highlight,” Fewing said. “Jake Feener and Miguel Gonzalez, Bobby Segel and Renato Bandeira have done an excellent job as leaders. That’s been a lot of fun. Our freshmen have stepped up…and we’ve had a lot of goals from a lot of different players so you want that. It’s been fun to see some balance in that.”
In spite of the loss to Washington on Sunday night, the men’s soccer team still achieved a historic and record-breaking season. The win against Creighton was the first win by a Seattle U men’s team in an NCAA Division I Tournament game since 1964. This triumph creates hope for years of success ahead for all Seattle U sports.
“It feels great,” said Miguel Gonzalez, forward on the Seattle U men’s team, when asked about the 2013 season. “We learned a lot this year and it’s just been amazing to be a part of a great team with great players.”
“I love the fact that we have winning records for sure, that we have more goals than we’ve given up, and there have just been a lot of good highlights,” Fewing said. “The guys have shown a lot of resolve. It’s nice to be able to add another trophy to the shelf for Seattle U Athletics…We’re breaking grounds MDASH there are some milestones and it’s been really fun this season. I’m really proud of the guys. I’m thrilled with what the team has done.”