Final Four Soccer Season a Series of Comebacks

Without a doubt, Seattle Pacific University's 1998 soccer season was a study in comebacks. The Falcons, who found themselves with a 3-4-2 record and on the verge of a disaster at midseason, rallied to win 11 of their next 13 games and qualify for the NCAA Final Four in December.

The SPU team, which was eliminated by eventual champion Southern Connecticut 3-0 in the semifinal round, repeatedly came from behind to win big games down the stretch. A record Interbay Stadium crowd of 1,470 witnessed one such match on November 7 when SPU upset Washington, the No. 2 ranked team in Division I. After tying the game with less than 20 minutes remaining, the Falcons won 2-1 when Vadim Tolstolutsky shot from long range with just 68 seconds to go.

It was much the same routine in the first two rounds of the NCAA playoffs. After falling behind Colorado's Fort Lewis on three different occasions, SPU won 4-3 by scoring twice in the final 14 minutes. A week later, the Falcons tied Grand Canyon in regulation, but it took three overtime periods before Tolstolutsky struck the game-winner.

SPU's Dana Garner, the Pacific West Conference Player of the Year, was named to the All-America team. He and Tolstolutsky were also among five players selected to the all-region team. All 11 starters are expected back in 1999.

Volleyball and Cross Country Teams Rate as Favorites for 1999

They will go down as the most successful volleyball team in Seattle Pacific University history, but they no doubt wanted more. The Falcons finished the 1998 season with a sterling 23-7 record and as winners of the Pacific West Conference's West Division. But, being in the most competitive conference and region in all of NCAA Division II, they were denied a berth in the national playoffs.

The Falcons found themselves in a conference tournament that also included two of the top three teams in the nation: Brigham Young-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific. SPU won its first match of the tournament before being eliminated by Hawaii Pacific, the eventual NCAA champion. Seattle Pacific junior Danielle Dettorre was selected to the all-conference team for the third consecutive year.

Much like volleyball, the women's cross country team, with virtually its entire team returning intact, rates as a favorite for further success next season. Seattle Pacific, with three freshmen and two sophomores among the top seven scorers, took seventh place at the NCAA Championships, the team's best finish in seven years. One of the freshmen, Rachel Ross, won the Pacific West Conference championship and also earned All-America honors.

Both Basketball Teams Nationally Ranked

Both Seattle Pacific University basketball teams have taken up right where they left off last spring. The Falcon men, unveiling new, more offensive-oriented tactics, averaged more than 100 points per game in winning their first six games this fall and achieving a No. 17 national ranking.

Senior Jeff McBroom, who is scoring 27 points per game, could challenge the school records for points and three-point field goals in a season. No previous SPU team has averaged more than 90 points per game for a season.

The women's team, which made the NCAA Elite Eight in 1998, were 8-1 and ranked No. 12 going into Christmas break. Sophomore forward Gus Balogh not only leads the squad in scoring, but has made two all-tournament teams and was selected Pacific West Conference Player of the Week.

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