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Early Birds

Written by Jason Behenna, Athletics
August 17, 2015

Doesn't it seem like we attended Commencement at KeyArena just yesterday, capping the 2014-15 academic year? Yet, here come the fall sports student-athletes, reporting to campus and getting ready for the 2015-16 season.

The Seattle U women's soccer team arrived Aug. 4 to prepare to defend the Western Athletic Conference titles that they have won in each of the previous two seasons. Led by a strong group of seniors, including goalkeeper Brianna Smallidge, defender Kelly Beck, and Preseason All-WAC honorees Natasha Howe and Kiana Kraft, the Redhawks head into a gauntlet of non-conference opponents to start the season. Seattle U hosts Pac-12 schools Washington State (Aug. 21) and Oregon (Aug. 23), heads across town to face Washington (Aug. 28), returns to Championship Field to face SEC member Vanderbilt, and then hits the road for matchups against teams from the WCC (Gonzaga), Big Ten (Purdue), and Big East (Creighton).

The Redhawk women's volleyball team arrived with renewed confidence after posting a winning conference record for the second straight season and advancing to the finals of last year's WAC Tournament. The returning players and newcomers are co-existing through the first days of preseason workouts. With the construction at the Connolly Center continuing through the fall, the Redhawks will play their home matches at nearby Seattle Academy, starting with the Red and White Scrimmage on Aug. 22. The non-conference schedule includes contests against California, Washington State, Kansas State, and Miami (Fla.) before the Western Athletic Conference season begins in late September.

The men's soccer program hopes to return to the NCAA Tournament after missing out by being eliminated in the semifinals of last year's WAC Tournament. Senior Hamza Haddadi, the 2014-15 Eddie O'Brien Male Student-Athlete of the Year, as well as goalkeeper Shane Haworth, expect to lead the way, with several new players aiming to earn their time on the pitch. The Redhawks open a 10-match home slate with contests against UC Davis (Aug. 28) and Gonzaga (Aug. 30), followed by a neutral-site matchup against Northwestern from the Big Ten. Ivy League schools Harvard (Sept. 18) and Dartmouth (Sept. 20) make the cross country trip to face the Redhawks, with Seattle U hosting Washington Thursday, Sept. 24 before starting the conference schedule in October.

The cross country teams report this week to begin preparations for their 2015 season. The women's cross country team looks to defend the WAC championship it won last season, while the men's cross country squad brings experience to its improvement effort. Several of the meets this season will take place around the Puget Sound area, including the Emerald City Open at Lower Woodland Park Saturday, Oct. 17, and the NCAA West Regional at Jefferson Park Golf Course Friday, Nov. 13.

For the most up-to-date information about Seattle U Athletics, visit the official website at www.GoSeattleU.com. Fans are also encouraged to follow the Redhawks on Facebook (Seattle U Athletics), Twitter (@su_athletics), and Instagram (@su_redhawks).