Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Redemption: #13 Seattle U Men’s Soccer Scores 2-1 Senior Day Win 

Sean Alexander

For the seniors with Seattle University Men’s Soccer, winning 2-1 Oct. 21 against San Jose State University (SJSU) was both a nod to the past and the future.

Last November, SJSU beat Seattle U 4-0 in the semifinals of the 2022 WAC Tournament to knock them out of the competition and end their season. This loss closed the chapter on Pete Fewing’s career as Seattle U’s legendary head coach—Fewing stepped down after 29 seasons at Seattle U. 

Sean Alexander

The contest was an opportunity to redeem themselves against the team that ended their season last year, on one of the most special days of the season: Senior Day.

SJSU looked to be playing spoiler once again when a corner kick driven into the middle of the box led SJSU defender Niklas Dossmann to score right before the halftime whistle. In a half where Seattle U seemed to control the game, leading the Spartans in shots, they were down 1-0. 

Nate Daligcon, who is in his first season as the team’s head coach, has the team ranked No. 13 in the country. He saw this adversity as just another opportunity for his team to show what they are made of. 

“We talked about an opportunity [at halftime],” Daligcon said. “We want to make sure when we walk off that field that we’re not looking back at a list of missed opportunities.” 

But missed opportunities were the story of the first half. After receiving a long ball into the 18-yard box, Senior forward James Morris was left one-on-one with only the sliding keeper to beat. He made a move to his left foot and with nothing but net in sight, his shot hit the post and bounced out of bounds.

Morris, a captain for the Redhawks, who currently leads the team with 10 goals and six assists, has shown his impact on and off the field as a leader during his four years at Seattle U.

“I want people to look back at this team, not just me,” Morris said. “I want this team as a whole to be remembered for years to come.”

After being down 1-0 and missing a clear chance at a goal, Morris preached resilience to his teammates.

“We’ve been here many times this season, and that’s what makes this team so rare,” Morris said. “We always have the belief that we can win.” 

The team has shown plenty of fight all season long, including an emotional 3-2 victory over a 20th-ranked University of Washington team earlier this season. 

The opportunity that Daligcon preached at halftime appeared five minutes into the second half. Another senior made his presence known when midfielder Kotaro Hirokawa found the back of the net in the 48th minute to even up the score at 1-1, assisted by none other than Morris. 

Sean Alexander

The message of resilience seemed to appear in every single player and was something that Morris said started back in August. 

“We laid down the ground rules and said, ‘hey this is what the standards are and we’re not sticking below them,’” Morris said.

As the rain started pouring onto Championship Field, Seattle U was looking for another goal and continued pushing their top-20 scoring offense into the thick of the SJSU defense. 

Seattle U’s aggressive offensive play caused a series of fouls on both sides. With the atmosphere of the game starting to heat up, players from both sides began tugging at each other. Seattle U received the bitter half of that, with three yellow cards being handed out to the team in the second half. 

But the Redhawks let their play do the talking. At the 62-minute mark, Hirokawa’s through ball up the left side to Sophomore midfielder Yeider Zuluaga set up a cross for Morris. Morris’s missed shot deflected right into the feet of Senior midfielder Taketo Onodera, who from 18 yards out scored a powerful shot into the bottom left corner as Championship Field erupted. Onodera’s goal secured a great come-from-behind win for the Redhawks.

Senior defender Habib Famuditimi called this win “an emotional one, but going out there with your guys and the fans, it’s what you play for.” 

The close win also pushed the Redhawks up a spot in the United Soccer Coaches top-25 poll, as they sit at No. 12.

Sean Alexander

The future is now reality for the seniors, Daligcon and the rest of the team, as they close the chapter on Championship Field for 2023—the contest marked their final home game of the season. Though with the way this team is playing, it’s hard to imagine they won’t be competing deep into November with the Western Athletic Conference Tournament looming and an NCAA Tournament berth at stake. The Redhawks hope to continue their resilient play into the competition that starts Nov. 5. 

But with more season to play, Daligcon’s message to the team is simply, “One game at a time.” 

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