Women’s Soccer Springs Into Season



Junior Midfielder, Holly Rothering, dribbles past UW player as she charges to the goal.

This fall, the Seattle University Women’s Soccer team went 6-1-1 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC); they took home the WAC tournament title; and ultimately fell, but performed admirably in the NCAA tournament against No. 1 ranked Stanford. Now the team is kicking off their spring season.

The Redhawks began their spring season on March 17 with an impressive win. The Redhawks lost their second match on Thursday, April 11 against the University of Washington by a final score of 4-0.

Even though the team was unable to take home the win, Head Coach Julie Woodward was still happy with their overall performance.

“We came out a bit nervous and didn’t look ready to play. I would say the whole middle segment of the game evened out when they got their sea legs under them. At this point we started really competing,” Woodward said.

She is unbothered by the mixed success of the team so far this spring season, as the season itself does not count towards any titles and is primarily about player development and preparation for the next regular season.

“The Spring season will set a new pace for the team as the results do not matter,” Woodward said.

Instead of focusing on winning, the overall improvement of the team will become a priority. Woodward reflected on the team’s success this fall.

“We scheduled a pretty tough non-conference schedule,” Woodward said. We played a lot of top teams, Pac-12 teams, California WCC, that really gives us a great preparation going into our conference play.”

Woodward also notes that it was not an easy journey into the fall season, though the team ultimately pulled together in time.

“We had a lot of ups and downs during our preseason so once the team was healthy and everyone was playing together, we hit our stride at the right time.”

Woodward also spoke to some of the differences that this spring season will bring to the team.

“One of the biggest differences for this season is maybe our philosophy. As a coaching staff, we want the team to compete and be successful,” Woodward said. “We have a lot more time as coaches to work on individual improvement and individual development. The fall season is the situation where you have to compete, and you have to win to gain an in-state tournament.”

Leahi Manthei, a sophomore forward, also notes that the spring season is the perfect opportunity for improvement.

“Of course we want to win games and be successful but its more about improving. That’s the key thing; if we keep improving and fix the problems we have as a team and as individuals, we will be successful through that. It’s a lot less pressure on us,” Manthei said.

The team is making the most of their non-competitive season by looking for new tactics to improve the team’s performance.

“We’ve been trying to change formations occasionally to give the players some more experience,” Woodward said.

Though not affecting her personally as much as other players, Manthei spoke to the this success of this tactic.

“In our most recent game, we started implementing some of those changes. I think it’s been working well and it’s going to continue to help us in the future.”


First-year Bailey Hall keeps a UW player at bay as she looks for the ball during the SU vs UW soccer game.

As the academic year comes to a close, the team will also be losing a number of team members as they graduate. Despite this, Woodward is confident the team will be more than ready for next season.

“We return two of our top scorers and a large majority of our team. We also have a great challenging pre-season schedule that’s really going to prepare us to conference.”

Going into the next season, the team will begin facing new challenges.

“Our biggest challenge is that we’ve brought in a large recruiting class and trying to manage the recruiting class, figuring out our strengths and who works well together in two weeks is a challenge as we have two weeks until our first game,” Woodward said.

However, these challenges have not dampened the team’s excitement

“I know in the fall we’ll be playing bigger schools, which I think is exciting. It’s more fun when we’re being pushed to our limits. I’m really excited to be pushed and be overall successful as I know we will be,” Manthei said.

Woodward takes pride in the team and the types of players on it, speaking to how their overall attitude that motivates her as a coach.

“The kind of players we love to coach are the ones that don’t want to play in the game that they’re going to win six nothing. We want players who are looking to be challenged,” Woodward said.

The Redhawks will compete at home Thursday, April 25 against Highline College at Championship Field at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 4 against Oregon State at 4 p.m.

Kristen may be reached at
[email protected]