Falcons land in top three

Daniel Newman

SPU ends their season on a cliff hanger after 1-1 tie against CU
After the shutout win against Central Washington University Wildcats (3-0) and tie against No. 2 Concordia (1-1) last week, Seattle Pacific University women’s soccer team is ready to go into the Great Northwest Athletic Conference playoffs next week.

During the matchup with CWU, it only took five minutes for the Falcons to get on the board. Defender Julia Devere sent a long ball forward to forward Sophia Chilczuk, who took control of the ball, dribbled past the goalie, and calmly finished the play off with a solid goal.

“We were really focusing on keeping the ball at our feet and playing out of the back,” Devere said. “We were trying to shift the point of attack to catch Central’s defense off guard and find space in behind.”

Devere was also awarded the GNAC defensive player of the week for her performances last week.

It was Devere who started the next Falcon attack that led to a goal 35 minutes later, playing a long ball to midfielder Makena Reitz. Reitz collected the ball, dribbled through the defense, and took a shot at the edge of the box.

Wildcat goalie Emily Thomson got a piece of the ball, but it was not enough to keep Reitz’s shot from trickling into the net.

The Falcons also started off the second half quickly, scoring just two minutes in.

Midfielder Claire Neder fired a shot that Thomson saved, but forward Kasey Reeve was right there to tap the ball into the net for the final score of the game.

It marked Reeve’s sixth goal on the season, and her first since her overtime game winner against Simon Fraser University last week.

“It just feels like such a relief,” Reeve said of the game winning goal. “We had all been working so hard all game and it was such a great reward for all the effort and hard work we had put in. That win was huge for us”

Next up for the Falcons would be a match against the No. 2 ranked Concordia Cavaliers on Saturday in Portland.

Before the game, the Falcons head coach Arby Busey said, “Concordia is a great opponent, and provides us with a good challenge. I think that is important this time of year, as we prepare to move into the post-season it is really beneficial to play against quality opponents.”

CU had more control of the game in the first shot, as they outshot the Falcons 10-4 in the first half of the game. The Cavaliers converted their final shot of the half, as forward Kyra Radcliffe ran onto a pass from midfielder Emily Boettcher and deposited the ball into the net.

The Falcons came back to score the equalizer in minute 79, when forward Chilczuk fired a shot that was stopped by Cavaliers goalie Rose Hauser. The ball was kicked around in the box and came back toward Devere, who took a few dribbles and took a shot from 25 yards out. The ball lofted past Hauser and into the upper left corner.

Neither team would score again before time expired, so the game moved into overtime.
Falcons goalie Riley Travis made some big saves in overtime, including deflecting a free kick from forward Quinn Williams over the crossbar. Travis had nine saves in the game overall.

The Falcons’ best chance in overtime came from midfielder Claire Neder, as she sent a 30-yard attempt whizzing past the left post with two minutes left.

The Falcons’ regular season is now over, as they now move into the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.

The Falcons finished the season ranked third in the GNAC, and their opponents next week will be none other than Concordia University, as they will travel back to Portland and play on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.

“I am always so inspired by the talent and work rate on the team and I know that if we play at our best, we will be able to go far into the postseason,” Devere said.

“We’ve all been working really hard this year, and this is just a testament to what we are capable of doing,” senior midfielder Mikayla Sonstelie also added. “This year has been really fun and I’m just glad that we all get to continue playing together even longer.”
In addition to the good results this week, the GNAC also named the conference All Academic Women’s soccer team. The Falcons had 15 players make the cut, including all nine seniors on the team.

“I think we have a very intelligent group of women on our team, and they are able to play the game in a certain manner which compliments their intelligence,” Busey said.
“They are able to quickly identify and learn what our opponents are trying to do, with [and] without the ball. They are then able to use that information to gain an advantage within the context of the game. It allows our team to be very flexible, and take care of things ‘in the moment,’ as they happen on the field.”