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STARS RESERVES TAKE WISL LEAD WITH WIN OVER NARROWS FC

The Tacoma Stars Reserves finished off 2018 and the first half of the Western Indoor Soccer League season with a resounding 8-3 win over Tacoma Narrows FC in the first Grit City Derby at the Tacoma Soccer Center on Saturday, Dec. 29.

The Stars Reserves jumped out to an early lead with a goal from Micah Wenzel and poured it on and took a 4-0 lead in the first quarter, including goals by Eddie Na and Tyler John, before Narrows finally broke through on a goal by JC Henson with less than a minute to play in the first quarter.

But it was all Stars in this one. Na and Wenzel would each add another goal as they tightened their grip on first place and finished the first half unbeaten with 15 points and a 5-0-0 record. The first half of the season included a home 3-2 nail-biter over three-time defending WISL champion Bellingham United on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Tacoma Stars Reserves goals: Eddie Na (2), Micah Wenzel (2), Jeff Bader, Steve Mohn, Tyler John, Danny Minniti
Tacoma Narrows FC goals: JC Henson, Jeremy Maldonado, Shane Gutierrez – Courtesy of GoalWA.net.

 

UPS LOGGERS EARNED NUMEROUS ATHLETIC AND ACADEMIC KUDOS

Luke Murdock turned in one of the best offensive seasons in recent Puget Sound men’s soccer history, and Sam Gonzalez was named an Academic All-American to highlight the Loggers’ 2018 season.

Murdock, a junior, led the Northwest Conference in points (25) and goals (11) on his way to being named the NWC Offensive Player of the Year. Five of his goals came in the last four games of the season, including game-winners against Willamette (Oct. 27) and Pacific Lutheran (Nov. 3).

Murdock is the Loggers’ first NWC Player of the Year since Carson Swope won the honor in 2013.

Murdock, who received a United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Third Team nod, was one of five Loggers to earn 2018 All-NWC honors. Senior defender Skye Guegan was named to the All-NWC First Team, along with Murdock. Guegan’s lock-down defense is honored by the NWC for the second consecutive year. He was named an All-NWC Honorable Mention in 2017.

Senior midfielder Stefan Jensen also earns an All-NWC nod for the second consecutive season. He makes the All-NWC Second Team in 2018 after being named an honorable mention in 2017. Jensen is joined on the All-NWC Second Team by sophomore forward Cale Spence. This fall he was the Loggers’ second-leading scorer with six goals, and ranked second on the team in assists with four.

Senior goalkeeper Wren Norwood was named an All-NWC Honorable Mention. He earned two NWC Student-Athlete of the Week (defense) honors during the course of the 2018 season, and he held opponents scoreless in five different games.

Gonzalez, a senior captain, was named an Academic All-American today by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He is the only NCAA Div. III men’s soccer student-athlete from the district to earn Academic All-American this fall.

Gonzalez holds a 3.96 GPA while studying molecular and cellular biology. In order to qualify, student-athletes must have a minimum 3.30 GPA. Through his four years of playing defense with the Loggers, Gonzalez started 54 out of 58 games played.

The Loggers began the 2018 season with a couple of one-goal losses in Texas, but Puget Sound quickly bounced back upon returning to Tacoma. The Loggers won three consecutive home games to push their record to 3-2. The winning streak included 12-0 triumph over Brooklyn, a when nine different Loggers found the back of the net.

Puget Sound cooled off and closed out the month of September with one win in five contests. Two of those games ended in a tie.

October was more favorable for the Loggers – a month in which Puget Sound lost only one game. In fact, the Loggers were unbeaten in their final seven games of the season (5-0-2). Still, Puget Sound finished the year with a 9-5-4 overall record (7-3-4 NWC).

During the course of the season, Norwood twice received NWC Student-Athlete of the Week for defense. Murdock, Spence, and Sean Hamel earned NWC Student-Athlete of the Week for offense one time, each.

 

LOGGER UNDERCLASSMEN MAKE PRESENCE KNOWN IN 2018

Although more than 80 percent of its roster was comprised of freshmen and sophomores, the Puget Sound volleyball team battled its way to a 12-12 overall record in 2018.

With 18 underclassmen and only four seniors, the Loggers appeared to be heading for a long season when they lost three of their first four matches of the year in the Puget Sound Premiere (Aug. 31 – Sept. 1).

It didn’t take long for Puget Sound to show signs of improvement. Just one week after the Puget Sound Premiere, the Loggers won two out of four matches in the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational hosted by Cal Lutheran (Sept. 7-8). The Loggers’ victories included a 3-0 sweep over Pomona-Pitzer and a 3-2 victory over Whittier.

The positive trip to southern California launched the Loggers into a blistering start to the Northwest Conference season. Puget Sound won eight of its first nine NWC matches, including road wins at Whitworth and Whitman. The Loggers were the first team to hand Whitworth its first NWC loss in five matches.

The second time through the NWC schedule, however, wasn’t as favorable. Puget Sound closed the year with five losses in its last six contests.

Shortly after the end of the season, sophomore Melanie Siacotos was named to the All-NWC Second Team. Siacotos led the Loggers in total blocks with 68, and she ranked fourth in the conference with 0.94 blocks per set. Her .238 attack percentage led all Loggers (min. 10 matches) and ranked 10th overall in the NWC. She notched a career-high 13 kills against both Millikin (Aug. 31) and Linfield (Sept. 14). Siacotos also totaled a career-best 10 blocks at Whitman (Sept. 29). Siacotos totaled at least 10 points in 11 different matches during the 2018 season.

Siacotos, of course, wasn’t the only Logger underclassman to make big impact in 2018. Sophomore Alli Reviglio led the team in kills (174), ranked second in digs (225), and third in total blocks (33). Sophomore Sydney Voss finished the year with a team-high 308 digs, while freshman duo Aliah Ayau (378) and Sarah Blumenfeld (373) were tops on the team for total assists.

The Loggers proved to be the best serving team in the NWC by posting a conference-high 2.17 service aces per set. Reviglio and freshman Jordan Holman tied for second in the NWC with 0.51 service aces per set, and Blumenfeld ranked fifth with 0.42.

Often playing up front with Siacotos was freshman Sadie Alloway. She ranked ninth overall in the NWC for blocks per set (0.72).

 

CHAMPIONSHIP RUNS AND NWC HONORS HIGHLIGHT 2018 LOGGERS

Two NCAA Div. III Championship appearances, three All-Northwest Conference honorees, and a conference title. The Puget Sound men’s and women’s cross country teams made big strides in 2018.

Freshman men’s runner Colin Monaghan made an immediate impact for the Loggers, and he didn’t let up all season. Monaghan won the first race of the season – the Puget Sound Invitational. Through his first five collegiate races, Monaghan beat all NCAA Div. III runners en route to being named the NWC Men’s Runner of the Year and the NWC Men’s Freshman of the Year.

Monaghan won the NWC men’s title at McIver State Park in Estacada, OR. The Puyallup native timed in at 25:39.1 to earn the crown. He was one of three Loggers to earn All-NWC honors.

Jack Lindauer received an All-NWC nod by placing eighth overall with a time of 26:30.4 during the championships. Puget Sound women’s sophomore Samantha Schaffer, who was the 2017 NWC Women’s Freshman of the Year, earned an All-NWC honor for the second consecutive season. She placed 10th overall with a championship time of 23:53.1.

Women’s runner Emery Bradlina missed the 2017 season to study abroad, but she had a strong return in 2018. Bradlina opened the season by winning the Puget Sound Invitational, and come November she was an All-West Region honoree.

Competing in Walla Walla Bradlina placed 10th overall in the NCAA West Regional Championship by timing in at 22.45.7. Monaghan also earned an All-West Region honor by placing sixth overall (25:10.00). The duo earned a bid to the NCAA D-III Championships in Winneconne, Wisc.

On the national stage, Monaghan placed 69th in the men’s race, and Bradlina was 227th in the women’s race.

 

IT WAS ANOTHER BANNER YEAR FOR PLU ATHLETICS

The Pacific Lutheran University athletic department had a banner year in 2018, capturing seven Northwest Conference titles, claiming one individual national champion, and continuing to set the standard in the classroom and in the community.

Things got rolling in February with women’s swimmer Kaycee Simpson winning NWC titles in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststrokes, en route to NWC Freshman of the Year honors. The Graham, Washington native continued her season into March, becoming the first female Lute swimmer to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships, competing in the 100 individual medley, 200 breaststroke and the 200 butterfly.

The baseball team caught lightning in a bottle in March, winning a school record 12 straight games in the month. The Lutes secured the NWC title and finished the season with a 25-17 record.

It wasn’t just baseball securing league titles in the spring with men’s golf and women’s rowing winning NWC titles on the same day on April 22. The men’s golf squad won both the NWC Spring Classic and the NWC Tournament to win the league title for the second straight season while the women’s rowing team won the varsity eight race to hoist the NWC crown for the third year running.

Both squads carried that success into the postseason at the national level with the men’s golf squad placing 16th at the NCAA Championships, the best finish in program history, while women’s rowing placed seventh, logging a top seven finish for the second time in three years.

Capping off a strong spring was Machaela Graddy. A two-sport athlete (women’s soccer and track & field), the senior closed out her collegiate career in style, winning the NWC title in the javelin before becoming PLU’s first individual national champion since 2001 after winning the javelin at the NCAA Championships with a school record throw. Graddy was later recognized in July by Sports Illustrated for her athletic exploits, earning a spot in the famed magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd.”

The end of the semester saw the Lutes shine in the classroom. A record 60 student-athletes were inducted as members of Chi Alpha Sigma while 154 total Lutes won NWC Scholar-Athlete honors. PLU’s department-wide success in the classroom included the women’s basketball team earning recognition as part of the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll. The Lutes boasted the ninth-best GPA in the nation among 450 NCAA Division III institutions.

Beyond success in the classroom, the Lutes racked up over 3,200 hours of community service. That included hosting the annual Youth Sports Clinic and several events in conjunction with Special Olympics Washington. The PLU swimming teams project with Special Olympics garnered nationwide attention in the fall, earning a grant from the NCAA after winning the August Division III Special Olympics Spotlight Poll.

That success spilled back over into the competitive arena in the fall with the Lutes winning a share of four of the six NWC Championships in the fall.

Volleyball won the conference outright for the second straight season, finishing the conference slate with a 14-2 record and ending the season with a 21-4 record. Among the highlights of the season was Head Coach Kevin Aoki notching his 400th win in September at the Spike it Up Classic in Colorado. Powering the strong performance was the team’s blocking ability, finishing the season ranked No. 1 in Division III in blocks per set.

Women’s soccer (13-3-4, 12-2-2 NWC) claimed a share of its third consecutive NWC title, posting 11 shutouts on the season while the senior class wrapped up their careers in the black and gold with an impressive 61-10-12 record on the pitch.

Men’s soccer won a share of its second straight conference title, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. The Lutes finished the season with a 13-5-2 record and a 9-3-2 record in NWC play.

Men’s cross country completed its meteoric rise under the direction of Head Coach Adam Frye, winning a share of the program’s first conference title since 1997 and ending the season by placing fifth at the NCAA West Regional. The Lutes quest back to the top came after finishing ninth at the NWC meet in 2014 and fifth the following season. PLU was second in both 2016 and 2017 before finally breaking through this fall.

In addition to winning championships, Lutes found the time to support other Lutes, including the men’s cross country team running the game ball from campus to Sparks Stadium prior to football’s win over Pacific University.

Under the direction of first year Head Coach Brant McAdams, the Lute football team knocked off eventual Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in the home opener at Sparks Stadium while launching the Kinship Alumni Mentor Program to reconnect gridiron alumni with first-year Lutes.

Football wasn’t the only team on campus providing leadership and real life skill development for student-athletes on campus with the fall kicking off year three of the wildly successful Lutes LEAD program. Providing distinct leadership tracts for first years, sophomores-juniors, and seniors, the program provides workshops, guest speakers, and networking opportunities for those involved with the program.

Bjug Day this fall turned out to be the best one yet for Lute athletics with the department raising $70,500 during the campaign. Those dollars directly impact the student-athlete experience of each sport program and were matched dollar for dollar by the University towards the general scholarship fund.

Heading into the new year, both men’s and women’s swimming remain undefeated in NWC duals and in the hunt for conference titles while men’s and women’s basketball have gotten off to promising starts heading into the second half of the season.

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