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

Seattle U Sports Week in Review: Soccer Soars

Andrew Mori

It has been an eventful week for Seattle University athletics, to say the least.

Cross country and women’s soccer traveled for their Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships, men’s soccer finished out their historic regular season and volleyball completed a two-game homestand at the Redhawk Center. Here’s a recap of the action.

Women’s Soccer Clinches Spot in WAC Tournament Final

After a 3-6-1 (W-L-D) start to the season, Seattle U Women’s Soccer got back on track for the WAC season. They went 6-2-1 in the WAC season, including a five-game unbeaten stretch, and entered the WAC Tournament at California Baptist University (CBU) in Riverside, Calif. as the No. 3 seed.

They faced the No. 6 seed Thunderbirds of Southern Utah Oct. 29. Sophomore midfielder Caroline Penner got the action started with a goal in the 36th minute off a short cross from Junior forward Savannah Singleton. It was Penner’s eighth goal in just seven games, as she was coming off a WAC Offensive Player of the Week award in the prior week. 

The Thunderbirds responded just after the half, equalizing the game in the 49th. Penner finished the night with a career-high nine shots, and yet the game remained tied until late.

The Redhawks could finally exhale in the 83rd when a perfectly-placed corner kick from Junior midfielder Jourdyn Curran found Senior forward Hallie Bergford for the game-winner.

Seattle U would take on host and No. 2 seed CBU in the semifinal Nov. 1.

This time the Redhawks would get contributions from elsewhere. Junior defender Kait Raffensperger and Senior forward Kaylee Coatney each scored their first goals since Oct. 5. Goalkeeper Kassidy Kirgan, who took home WAC Freshman of the Year, recorded a season-high nine saves. But with the Redhawks leading 2-0 heading into the final 10 minutes, CBU scored a penalty kick goal to create a tense final stanza in the 81st minute. 

Seattle U’s defense would hold, as they took home a 2-1 victory to send them to the tournament final Nov. 4 vs. Grand Canyon.

Fock Shines as Men’s Soccer Finishes Season No. 10 in the Nation

Seattle U Men’s Soccer had two games this week to close their undefeated WAC season at 7-0-1 and 12-2-3 overall. Combined with their statement win over the University of Washington and a big draw against Denver in September, the Redhawks earned the No. 10 spot in the United Soccer Coaches top 25 poll.

Graduate Student forward Lennard Fock stood out for the team, earning his first WAC Offensive Player of the Week award after scoring three goals in those final two games. The first contest at Utah Tech Oct. 26 saw the Redhawks win 7-1. Sophomore midfielder Yeider Zuluaga and Fock each scored back-to-back goals to put Seattle U up 4-0 by the early second half as the Redhawks coasted to the win. The victory earned the Redhawks the regular season WAC title.

Their final game of the season was against the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) Oct. 29. They allowed the Running Rebels to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. But with an undefeated season at stake, the Redhawks showed their commitment to the “one game at a time” philosophy head coach Nate Daligcon has set in place.

Graduate Student defender Kotaro Hirokawa would score the equalizer in the 50th minute and just 10 minutes later Fock would add another, this time off a left-footed strike after an assist from Zuluaga.

In a season defined by strong defense and offensive output from a few sources, the Redhawks showcased their deep striking talent this week. They will set their eyes on the WAC Tournament Nov. 8, where they will be the top seed.

Cross Country at the WAC Championship

Seattle U Cross Country traveled to Abilene, Texas to compete in their WAC Championship, Oct. 27. The women’s team ran the 6000 meter event while the men’s team ran the 8000 meter. 

Led by Sophomore Azalea Groleau, the women’s team finished sixth in the event. Groleau finished 16th overall, as her time of 21:16 was the fifth-highest in school history, just below her mark of 21:13 from 2022.

The men’s team finished last in the 8000, as no top-10 finishes were recorded. 

Head coach Kelly Sullivan was unavailable for comment.

Cross country will finish out their season Nov. 10 at the NCAA West Regional in Sacramento, Calif.

Volleyball Splits Homestand

Seattle U Volleyball looked to get back on track at home against a formidable Tarleton State squad Oct. 26.

The Redhawks had scored just one set win in the previous three games, but that changed quickly—Seattle U jumped out to a 2-0 lead after some back and forth sets. Unfortunately for Seattle U, the Texans roared back, winning three consecutive sets by a combined score of 65-34, ending the game. Sophomore outside hitter Merima Smajlovic tied a career-high with 20 kills and Junior outside hitter Arianna Bilby, who entered the week third in the WAC in kills, continued her impressive season with 18 kills. 

Against Abilene Christian University (ACU) Oct. 29, the Redhawks were in for a thriller. Tied 1-1 after two sets, sets three and four would each go to extra points. In the decisive fifth set, Seattle U pulled out a 15-13 win, pushing their conference record to 2-10.

The Redhawks set a school record in blocks in the win, as Freshman middle blocker Tatum Chase led the way with a career-high 11 blocks and Bilby led the team in kills with 19.

Back in the win column, the Redhawks are two games out of the WAC Tournament bracket. With four contests left to play, Seattle U must finish strong to parlay what has been a rough conference season into a postseason berth.

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Qasim Ali, Sports & Opinion Editor
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