With such a rich tradition of soccer at Seattle Pacific University, it seems only natural that the new Falcon women's team begin under the direction of a past NCAA champion. Bobby Bruch, a starter for the 1985 and 1986 national title teams, has been selected as the women's first head coach following a national search.

Bruch, 34, will immediately begin building his first team, which will take the field in the fall of 2001. This season he is serving as an assistant on Coach Cliff McCrath's men's staff.

After earning all-conference and all-region honors at SPU from 1984 to 1987, Bruch embarked upon an eight-year professional career. Since 1991, he has also coached girls at the high school and premier youth level in southern California. Under his leadership, Marina High School in Huntington Beach won three consecutive Orange County championships. More recently, at West Coast Football Club in Mission Viejo, Bruch guided the Shamrocks' under-19 team to the 1998 national championship. His 1996 team had been runner-up, and overall the Shamrocks advanced to the national tournament three times.

Women's soccer was announced as the 12th varsity sport at Seattle Pacific in March 2000. Bruch says nearly 20 prospective players are already enrolled at SPU, and new inquiries from current high school players number 10-15 per week.


For Seattle Pacific University men's soccer and women's cross country, reaching the NCAA Championship stage is nothing new. The women's volleyball program, however, appears to be on the verge of breaking new ground.

The Falcon volleyball players, following a school-record 20 consecutive victories, found themselves poised for their first-ever playoff berth as the season reached November. First-year coach Kellie Radloff is building upon the success of the past two years, when SPU won 47 of 60 matches only to be denied a postseason invitation.

Beginning this fall, the NCAA has expanded the regional brackets from four to six teams, and the Falcons stood at No. 4 in the Pacific Region going into October. Leah Wiiest, a transfer from Cornell University, has solidified a team that already featured all-conference junior Leilani Kamahoahoa and senior Stephanie Huffman, a school record-holder in several statistical categories.

In cross country, junior Rachel Ross won her second Pacific West Conference title in three years by a margin of 51 seconds on October 21. Ross won four times and finished second twice in her first seven outings. The Falcons are vying for their seventh straight trip to the NCAA Championships, which will be held November 18 in Chino, California.

Soccer, after a rough start, moved back into postseason contention with an eleven-game unbeaten streak through early November. The Falcons reeled off nine consecutive wins to clinch at least a share of their third Pacific West Conference crown. Seattle Pacific is making its 11th consecutive trip to the playoffs, and first-round play began November 11.

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