By Nick Barene, Guest Writer
Pacific Lutheran University’s football team is entering the season with high hopes. They posted a 7-3 overall record and made an appearance in the NCAA Division III national playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
Sixteen are returning starters from the 2012 team, including captain Mychael Tuiasosopo, senior, who earned second team All-American honors last year as a defensive tackle.
The Lutes are poised for success as they boast three pre-season first-team All-Americans with Tuiasosopo, wide receiver Kyle Warner, junior, and offensive guard Chris Edison, a senior. Senior Jordan Patterson, a linebacker, received second-team honors.
The team has been ranked 13th in the nation by http://www.d3football.com/landing/index.
Predicted record in 2013: 8-2
The men’s soccer team has finished in the top half of the Northwest Conference table every year since 2003.
The 2012 squad continued that winning tradition with a strong 9-4-1 record, good for second place in the NWC. This season, the Lutes will look for leadership from first-team All-NWC selections forward Derek Johnson and midfielder Giancarlo Santoro. Both players are seniors.
Johnson co-led the team last year with nine goals.
Predicted record in 2013: 10-3-2
After finishing sixth in the NWC with a 4-5-7 (6-5-7 overall) record, the women’s soccer team will look to improve its place in the table. A pre-season poll predicted the Lutes to finish fifth in the conference, which would be their highest finish in 7 seasons.
The Lutes will look to rebuild with their young players, led by sophomore Lauren Larson who scored a team best nine goals and was selected to the All-NWC Second-Team. A revamped coaching staff will aid the team in its quest for a top-of-the-table finish.
Predicted record in 2013: 9-7-2
The women’s volleyball team had a stellar 2012 season. They qualified for the NCAA tournament, won the Northwest Conference Championship, and finished with a 20-6 record.
The team will enter the 2013 season ranked 21st in the nation and will look to continue its success from the previous campaign. However, the team has loftier aims than just a pre-season ranking.
“The ranking is the last thing on our mind,” said setter Samantha North, a junior. “We take one step at a time to accomplish our goals.”
North and teammate Bethany Huston, a senior, were both awarded AVCA All-America honors.
Predicted record in 2013: 22-4
The cross country team will rely on the strength of its talented returners, and invest hope in a large class of incoming runners.
Lauren Knebel, a sophomore, and Alan DenAdel, a senior, both advanced to the NCAA West Region Championship in 2012. The Lutes are already off and running in 2013 with DenAdel and sophomore Amanda Wilson each taking third place at the Puget Sound Invitational.
DenAdel won the Apple Ridge Run at Central Washington University on Sept. 7.
The Lute women took second place in the team standings with 39 points while the men took third place with 61 points.
Predicted number of regional qualifiers in 2013: 4
In 2012 the men’s golf team finished in fourth place in the NWC, scoring 21 out of 32 possible points. Dustin Hegge, a senior, earned second team all-conference honors after finishing as the 2012 NWC Player of the Year. The men’s golf team will begin their season on Sept. 22 at the Mary Hardin-Baylor Fall Intercollegiate tournament.
Predicted men’s 2013 placing: third
The women’s golf team finished in fifth place in its 2012 campaign. The team is reloaded for 2013, as it did not lose any players to graduation and will look to use its experience to aid them in the quest for the NWC title. Junior Kristina Norlin will look to continue her dominance in NWC play after averaging 89 strokes per contest last year.
Predicted women’s 2013 placing: third