The season is over for most of Pacific Lutheran University’s fall sports. With the exception of the Lutes football team, every team has completed its season. PLU was well-represented by how many fall athletes received All-Northwest Conference honors and how the Lutes volleyball team competed in its third consecutive postseason match. Now that the fall season is over, it’s time to look back on the triumphs demonstrated in each team’s season. Let’s hand out some grades.
Football (8-1 overall, 5-1 conference)
The football team has met all the expectations presented before it at the start of the season. First of all, the team has improved its running game from last year.
In 2012, PLU averaged just over 130 yards on the ground. This season, that statistic significantly improved. PLU has averaged almost 180 rushing yards this season en route to an impressive 8-1 overall record.
Besides their improved running game, the Lutes also improved on the defensive side of the ball. This season, the Lutes only gave up about 303 total yards per game.
Even though the defense is senior laden, junior Joel Anthony led the team and Northwest Conference in sacks with 9. This defense will be good for a while.
If the Lutes didn’t allow Linfield to score on four separate occasions when the two teams squared off in early October, then I would give them an A. No doubt about it.
Volleyball (19-6 overall, 15-1 conference)
The postseason has not been kind to the PLU volleyball team. History repeated itself this year when the Lutes volleyball team lost in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament again.
This team is dominant is the regular season, as evidenced by its high hitting percentage and undefeated record at home. In addition, the Lutes have one of the best setters in the nation in Samantha North, a junior.
North was second in the Northwest Conference in assists per set (10.48). The Lutes didn’t reach their full potential this year because of their disappointing postseason stint, but there’s always next year.
Women’s Soccer (11-4-5 overall, 9-2-5 conference)
Head coach Seth Spidahl has had a major impact on the Lutes’ success this season. Even though the Lutes didn’t do so well in Spidahl’s first year last season, they were able to enjoy a much more successful season in 2013.
Last year, the Lutes finished 6-5-7 overall and sat in sixth place. This year, the tides have turned.
The Lutes ended the season riding a three-game winning streak and finished with an 11-4-5 overall record. This is the first time since 2005 the Lutes finished in third place in the Northwest Conference. Now that’s what I call improvement.
Men’s Soccer (13-4-3 overall, 8-4-2 conference)
2013 spelled success for the men’s soccer program. In their 12th season under head coach John Yorke, the Lutes started out the season on a 12-game unbeaten streak. However, in mid-October, the Lutes struggled to find a win.
They lost four straight games after winning or tying those first 12. The Lutes were lucky to have senior Derek Johnson, who scored 13 goals to lead the team.
Even though this team graduated eight seniors, they will be in good hands for a while. First-year Rigoberto Loreto led the Northwest Conference with nine assists. Although the Lutes didn’t make the postseason for a third consecutive year, the men’s soccer program should be proud of what it accomplished on the field.