SPU men’s soccer visits Bismarck, Sioux Falls this week for GNAC games
Ninth-ranked Seattle Pacific (9-1-3, 5-1-3 GNAC) embarks on its final road swing of the season with a trip to the Midwest to play the two newest Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s soccer members. The Falcons are in Bismarck, N.D. on Thursday, Oct. 18 for a 5 p.m. Pacific Time (7 p.m. Central) game at the University of Mary. SPU won all six previous meetings with the Marauders. On Saturday, Oct. 20 the Falcons visit South Dakota to play Sioux Falls at 5 p.m. PDT (7 p.m. CDT). SPU blanked the Cougars 2-0 during this season’s first encounter on Sept. 13 in Seattle. The Falcons are vying for their 32nd NCAA Division II Tournament berth. They advanced to the West Regional championship game last fall.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18 –
(#9) Seattle Pacific at U-Mary
5:00 p.m. PDT (7 p.m. CDT), Bismarck Community Bowl, Bismarck, N.D.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20 –
(#9) Seattle Pacific at Sioux Falls
5:00 p.m. PDT (7 p.m. CDT), Sanford Sports Complex, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Falcons Fast Facts
SPU has not allowed a goal in the last 233-minutes, 45-seconds, dating to Oct. 6 at Saint Martin’s … Junior forward Blaine Carver leads the Falcons with six goals, tripling his scoring output from 2011 … The Falcons are outscoring opponents 25-14 with a balanced attack that features 12 players who scored at least one goal.
Fastest to Fifty
Mark Collings registered his 50th victory on Oct. 11 in his 88th game as head coach. That is the fastest to the 50-win mark for any Falcons coach. Legendary SPU coach Cliff McCrath (1970-2007) got his 50th win in game No. 94. At 50-26-3, Collings ranks No. 2 in all-time SPU coaching wins. McCrath had a 512-190-87 SPU record.
Seattle Pacific remained No. 9, in this week’s national poll. On. Sept. 10, SPU received its highest men’s soccer ranking in 18 years with a No. 2 listing in the NCAA Division II poll that was released by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). That was the Falcons highest poll position since a No. 1 ranking on Sept. 20, 1994. Current SPU assistant coach Nate Daligcon was a starting midfielder on that top-ranked team. Fifth-year head coach Mark Collings played for the Falcons from 1995-98, but none of the SPU teams he played on climbed as high in the rankings as the current team he is coaching. Simon Fraser is the only other GNAC team in the poll, listed at No. 3 this week.
This year’s Falcons equaled the best start in school history with six season-opening wins. The 1985 and 1991 SPU squads each started 6-0 before both lost in their seventh outing. The 1985 team proceeded to win the third of SPU’s five NCAA titles.
Player of the Week
SPU senior Jon Pearman, who played a significant role in two home shutouts, received the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week award on Monday. From his center back position, Pearman has helped the Falcons’ defense compile a current streak of 233 scoreless minutes. They won 2-0 on Oct. 11 while limiting Montana State Billings to only 10 shots. On Oct. 13, SPU played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw with Northwest Nazarene. The Falcons yielded just seven shots during the 110-minute affair, none of them during extra sessions. Pearman was a first-team All-America selection last year. He was also honored as the 2011 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year.
This Week’s Opponent
University of Mary (3-8-2, 2-6-1 GNAC) — The Marauders hail from Bismarck, N.D. and are first-year GNAC members, competing in men’s soccer only. U-Mary is winless in its last six outings. Rory Pratt accounts for one-third of the Marauders offense with five of the team’s 15 goals. The Falcons were victorious in all six of their games against U-Mary, including a 3-1 victory on Sept. 15 in Seattle.
University of Sioux Falls (1-9-2, 1-6-2 GNAC) – The Cougars are in their first year of full NCAA Division II membership. They are also first-year men’s soccer-only members of the GNAC, along with U-Mary. USF’s lone win was a 3-1 decision at Western Washington on Sept. 22. Brice Holiday has six goals, more than half of the Cougars team total of 11. SPU won both previous meetings, a 5-1 neutral-site decision on Sept. 23, 2011 in Bismarck, N.D. and a 2-0 victory earlier this season on Sept. 13 in Seattle.
Fifth-year coach Mark Collings is the third head coach in the 45-year history of Seattle Pacific men’s soccer. He has a 50-26-13 record with the Falcons. Collings directed SPU to a 14-4-2 record in 2011, capped by its first playoff appearance in five years. The Falcons earned the top seed in the West and advanced to the regional championship game. Collings was named the 2010 GNAC Co-Coach of the Year after leading SPU to a 10-6-2 overall record and a second-place league mark of 7-2-1. The Falcons were 11-5-3 in 2009, finishing third with a 4-3-1 league ledger. In his first season, SPU was 6-10-3 with a second-place GNAC finish (4-4) in 2008. Collings replaced Cliff McCrath, who compiled a 512-190-87 mark in 38 seasons (1970-2007). Arnie Aizstrauts was 1-14-1 from 1968-69. The co-captain of SPU’s 1998 Final Four team, Collings was a five-year assistant coach. He avoided a first-year Falcon curse as his predecessors were winless in their inaugural seasons.
Eight starters return from the SPU men’s soccer team that registered a 14-4-2 record and advanced to the West Regional final of the 2011 NCAA Division II Tournament. Heading the list of returnees are first-team All-America defender Jon Pearman and honorable mention goalkeeper selection Zach Johnson. They lead a defense that compiled 11 shutouts and a 0.88 goals against average. The midfield features first-team All-GNAC standout Caleb Nyone. Helping ease the loss of the team’s top-three scorers, including All-American Tyler Schultz, is junior forward Blaine Carver along with frontline mates Elliot Morton and Kyle Peterman who were both sidelined last season due to injury.
The Falcons close out the regular season with a three-game homestand, beginning on Oct. 25 against Western Washington. League-leading and third-ranked Simon Fraser invades Interbay Stadium on Oct. 27. Both home games kick-off at 7 p.m.