SEATTLE, WA — Coach Chuck Sekyra seeks to register his 200th career victory when the Seattle Pacific women’s soccer team (2-1-0) starts Great Northwest Athletic Conference play at home this week. The 12th-year mentor compiled a 199-30-17 record while directing SPU into the NCAA Division II Tournament every season. The Falcons host Simon Fraser (0-4) on Thursday, Sept. 18. Kick-off is 7 p.m. at Interbay Stadium. SPU is undefeated in seven all-time meetings versus the Clan with six wins and one tie. On Saturday, Sept. 20, sixth-ranked Western Washington (4-0) invades Interbay Stadium for a 7 p.m. clash. The matchup of Northwest rivals features the 2013 GNAC Tournament champions (SPU) and the regular-season winner (WWU). Something’s gotta give as the Falcons lead the league in goals (7) while Western has not surrendered an opposing score this season.
GNAC Title Hunt
Seattle Pacific seeks to reclaim the GNAC regular-season championship after having its three-year streak halted with Western Washington wins in 2012 and 2013. The Falcons were projected second by a preseason poll of the league’s coaches, but got two first-place votes. WWU was picked first, garnering the other six first-place tallies. SPU won eight of the 13 titles since the GNAC began sponsoring women’s soccer in 2001.
Tickets for SPU soccer games can be purchased on game day at Interbay Stadium (3027 17th Ave. W., Seattle 98119). Ticket windows open one hour prior to kickoff. All seats are general admission and priced at $6 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. SPU students and staff are admitted free. Groups or teams of 10 or more may qualify for reduced ticket rates by calling (206) 281-2085 in advance.
Seattle Pacific seeks to return to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the 12th straight year. The Falcons won the 2008 national championship. Last season they reached the West Region semifinal before losing 2-0 at Western Washington. SPU advanced to the Final Four on three occasions (2005, 2007, 2008).
Recapping Last Week
The Falcons put the sting of a 1-0 road loss to Chico State (Sept. 10) behind them with a 5-0 home rout of Notre Dame de Namur on Saturday. Hannah Huesers netted two goals while reserve goalkeepers Molly Stinson and Laura Shdo combined for the shutout in place of regular starter Alexa Hughes, who was not available due to a wedding. SPU completed the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 2-1-0 record.
Nine starters return from the 2013 GNAC Tournament champions, including first-team All-West Region forward Laura Moore who topped SPU with eight goals. Also back is Shayla Page, a two-time all-region defender who helped the team blank 11 opponents and compile a 0.72 goals against average. The top-nine goal producers return from last season’s Falcons, who outscored foes 39-16. Alexa Diaz is back after distributing a team-leading eight assists in 2013. A trio of All-GNAC midfielders returns in senior Demi Waitley and juniors Emma Holm and Ashley Shaw. Senior Alexa Hughes takes over primary goalkeeping duties after not surrendering a goal in 180 minutes during 2013. Junior Isabel Farrell, a transfer from Washington, adds a dynamic midfield presence.
Sophomore Hannah Huesers leads all GNAC scorers with three goals and Laura Moore is tied for top assist honors with three … The Seattle Pacific women won at least 15 games in each of Coach Chuck Sekyra’s previous 11 seasons, averaging just 2.6 losses per season during that span.
Scouting the Opponents
Simon Fraser (0-4-0) — The Clan became a GNAC member in 2010 as the first Canadian school to join the NCAA. Annie Hamel is in her first season as head coach at SFU, which was directed for the previous 25 years by Shelley Howieson. The Clan are winless in four outings, but played third-ranked Cal State Stanislaus tough before eventually falling 2-0. Olivia Aguilar accounted for two of the team’s three goals and Devon Kollmyer distributed two assists. Goalkeeper Priya Sandhu has a 2.50 goals against average. The Falcons own a 7-0-1 series advantage, including a 3-0 win on Oct. 5, 2013 in Burnaby, B.C. and a 5-0 decision on Oct. 31, 2013 in Seattle.
Western Washington (4-0-0) — The sixth-ranked Vikings won their second straight GNAC regular-season title in 2013 before losing the league’s tournament championship to SPU on a penalty kick tiebreaker. WWU compiled a 20-2-1 record last year and advanced to the national semifinals. The Vikings have not surrendered a goal this season as ‘keeper Ashley Haden has racked up four shutouts. Jessica Bertucci netted half (3) of the team’s six goals. Twelfth-year coach Travis Connell, a four-year SPU men’s soccer letterman (1991-95), owns WWU’s all-time mark with 145 coaching wins. The Falcons lead the all-time series 18-7-4 despite losing both 2013 regular-season meetings by matching 2-1 scores.
The SPU women registered a 15-6-1 overall record in 2013, won GNAC Tournament championship and participated in the postseason for the 11th straight season. They beat Sonoma State 1-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before falling 2-0 at Western Washington. The Falcons had a 10-4-0 conference record, finishing third in the GNAC standings. Graduated goalkeeper Natalie Harold was the GNAC Tournament MVP and defender Josie Graybeal is the only other departed starter. SPU outscored foes 39-16 led by the eight goals of Laura Moore and six from Hannah Huesers. The defense blanked 11 opponents.
Coach Chuck Sekyra
In his 12th season, Chuck Sekyra has guided Seattle Pacific to a remarkable 199-30-17 record, three Final Four appearances and the 2008 national championship. He directed the 2013 unit to the GNAC Tournament title. Seven of Sekyra’s SPU squads won GNAC regular-season championships and all 12 of his teams participated in the NCAA Tournament. His Falcons advanced to the 2005 championship game. Sekyra was a defender on the SPU men’s soccer teams that won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1985 and 1986. He served as an assistant men’s coach at SPU in 1998 and 1999 under Cliff McCrath, then was an assistant women’s coach at Washington for three years before being named head coach of the SPU women in 2003. Sekyra was named GNAC Coach of the Year six times (2003-05, 2007, 2009, 2011) and the Regional Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2007. He received the NSCAA National Coach of the Year award in 2007.