SPU Comeback Stuns National Volleyball Power
The Falcons had never taken down national women’s volleyball power Cal State San Bernardino — until this year. After dropping the first two games of the match in the season-opening Coyote Classic, the Falcons stormed back for a 3-2 victory against the No. 14-ranked team in NCAA Division II on September 7, 2013. In the decisive fifth game, San Bernardino had an 8-7 lead on the switchover, but SPU closed the match on an 8-3 run, getting the final point on a combined block effort by sophomore Jackie Arnold and junior Sara Biondi.
Late Goal Lifts Falcons Past Top-Ranked Simon Fraser
On October 3, 2013, one decisive shot took a different path than sophomore midfielder Danny Olivas had planned. But the ball ultimately ended up where he intended ... in the back of the net. Olivas scored the game-winning goal with 12 minutes left to play, lifting the SPU men’s soccer team to a 2-1 upset of top-ranked Simon Fraser.
Falcons Topple No. 8 Western for 500th Volleyball Victory
Junior Madi Cavell slammed a career-high 22 kills — including the match-winner on October 24, 2013, as the Falcons knocked off the No. 8-ranked Western Washington Vikings in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s volleyball match. Freshman Lexi Biondi put down a career-high 13 kills, and senior Nikki Lowell also had 13 kills.
Women’s Basketball Team Posts 700th Program Win
On November 8, 2013, Katie Benson put up 20 points and 10 rebounds, helping the SPU women open the basketball season by hanging on for a 71-66 victory against Humboldt State in the West Region Crossover Classic, the 700th win in program history. The Falcons, who began women’s basketball in the 1974–75 season, is now 700-365 all-time (.657 winning percentage). This is the second time the Falcons have won a milestone game under the guidance of head coach Julie Heisey. She was also at the helm for the 600th win, a 76-56 rout at Chico State on December 13, 2008.
Falcon Women Win GNAC Soccer Title, Earn NCAA Berth
Tournament Most Valuable Player Natalie Harold stopped the first two penalty kicks she faced during a shootout November 9, 2013, leading SPU to a 4-1 tiebreaker victory after battling 10th-ranked Western Washington to a 1-1 tie through two overtimes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s soccer championship game at Starfire Stadium. The Falcons (14-5-1) captured their first GNAC Tournament championship, earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Division II Tournament, and extended their streak of national playoff appearances to 11 years.
Downs Leads SPU to Second Straight Hoop Title
On March 8, 2014, David Downs scored 10 consecutive second-half points to fuel a run that rallied 18th-ranked Seattle Pacific to its second straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament championship with a 65-62 victory over Western Washington at Saint Martin’s University. The Falcons (26-5) earned the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. They made their 10th consecutive playoff appearance in 2014, the longest current streak among Division II men’s basketball teams. Downs became the first man to win both the GNAC Male Athlete of the Year and the Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards. This is the second year in a row that he received the Scholar-Athlete title.
O’Connell Elected President of Rowing Board
SPU Athletic Director Erin O’Connell was elected the first female president of the USRowing Board of Directors, the governing body for the sport of rowing in the U.S. The election was held at the March 22, 2014, meeting of the Board in Tampa, Florida.
Hundley Wins Three National Crowns; Tindall Captures Gold
SPU gymnasts earned national championships in all four events on April 13, 2014. Maria Hundley won the vault and balance beam crowns, and gained a three-way share of the title on the uneven parallel bars. Then Kai Tindall capped her career with a four-way split of the gold on the floor exercise in the individual event competition at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships. Falcon sophomore Hundley took the vault with a 9.85, and the beam with a similar score. On the bars, she came up with yet another 9.85. Senior Tindall, daughter of 39th-year head coach Laurel Tindall, pulled a 9.875 for her floor exercise routine, putting her on the top step of the podium in Brown University’s Pizzitola Sports Center. The previous night, the Falcons earned the third-place team trophy.
Fricker Races to NCAA 800-Meter Championship
SPU senior McKayla Fricker, after a near-miss at the national indoor 800-meter title in March, won the outdoor crown on May 24, 2014, pulling into the lead up the back side early in the second and final lap, then cruising down the homestretch at the NCAA Division II championship meet. She came through the wire in 2 minutes, 6.18 seconds — a personal best by nearly three-quarters of a second and a winning margin of well over a full second ahead of the next competitor at Grand Valley Track & Field Stadium.