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Spring 2008 | Volume 31, Number 1 | Athletics

Oh, So Close

The Falcons' perfect season ends just shy of the national championship game


Jessica Pixler running
Falcon team members Janae Godoy and Amanda Johnson (22) celebrate Godoy's goal vs. Cal-State-LA. SPU won the game 2-0 to capture the Far West Region championship.
Seattle Pacific University women’s soccer coach Chuck Sekyra has a plan, and it’s working — almost to perfection.

His team concluded the 2007–08 regular season atop the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) with a spotless 20-0-0 record and ranked second in the nation. The Falcons then reeled off three consecutive shutouts in postseason play on their way to the NCAA Division II Far West Region crown and their second Final Four appearance in three years. Unfortunately, SPU dropped its semifinal match 2-0 against five-time champion Franklin Pierce November 29 in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Still, the Falcons’ 23 straight wins were the most of any Division I or II team this season. The Falcons rewrote several pages of their record book, mopping up in nearly every statistical category. They led opponents in scoring by a ratio of 5 to 1, in shots by 4 to 1, and in corner kicks by 4.5 to 1. Even in the loss to Franklin Pierce, the Falcons outshot the Ravens 18-7. On defense, Seattle Pacific shut out 15 opponents and gave up only 12 goals during the season.

“Every single time we set foot on the field, it’s a huge game for our opponent,” says Sekyra. “When I came on, we looked at other teams, like UC-San Diego, and said, ‘That’s where we want to be.’ Now other teams are looking at us. I honestly think that if we win a national championship, you’re going to see us win two or three in a row.”

With the successful season came an impressive array of hardware for multiple members of the team and its coach. Among the many awards, Sekyra was named the 2007 Division II National Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and Martinez gained Player of the Year honors for both the GNAC and the Far West Region. But, she says, “I would give away all the personal awards and be just as happy as I am now, because I know I’m part of a group of girls who are getting the recognition they deserve.”

That sort of selflessness isn’t just talk. It shows up in a lot of places, and it might be the ultimate key to the Falcons’ success. “We go out of our way to recruit players who we feel can put other players first,” says Sekyra. “I still feel we had the best team in the country this year. We wanted that last national championship game, just so we could be together one more time.”

—By Martin Stillion
—Photos by Andrew Towell

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Department Highlights

Oh, So Close
Falcon women's soccer team has perfect season, goes to the Final Four.

SPU Women Harriers Finish Second Overall
Cross country runners bested 22 of 24 teams at nationals.

Falcons Reach  the Regional Finals
Spring sports update for basketball, gymnastics, and crew.