Seattle 2, SIU-Edwardsville 1

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WICHITA FALLS, Texas Just four years after moving to NCAA Division II and less than two months after qualifying for its first NCAA tournament, Seattle University won its first NCAA Division II mens soccer national title with a 2-1 win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at the MSU Soccer Field at Midwestern State University.

Seattle (22-0-1) earned its first NCAA title in any sport at any level in the history of the school. Seattle was an NCAA Division I member before dropping to the NAIA more than 20 years ago. The Redhawks won an NAIA title in both mens soccer (1997) and mens swimming (2001) before making the move back to the NCAA Division II level four seasons ago.

It was little surprise that the game-winner came from Bobby McAlister (Federal Way, Wash./University of Washington), who notched his 11th game-winner of the year and his 22nd goal of the season to earn the Redhawks the win. McAlister was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the 2004 NCAA Division II Final Four after scoring the game-winning goals in both of Seattles wins in Texas.

Other awards went to Santa Maria Rivera (Yakima, Wash./Wenatchee Valley College) who was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player. McAlister and Rivera were joined by goalkeeper Jeremiah Doyle (Vancouver, Wash./Evergreen HS) and Pat Doran (Bellingham, Wash./Sehome HS) on the all-tournament team.

The win caps Seattles first undefeated team in school history and just the ninth in NCAA Division II history to finish a season as undefeated national champions. It is also the seventh time in the past nine years that the Far West Region champion has advanced to the NCAA championship match, and the fifth in the last nine years that the Far West Region champion has won the NCAA title.

Seattle continued to move up several all-time NCAA Division II record lists with the win as well. The Redhawks are now unbeaten in 23 consecutive matches which is tied for ninth best in Division II history and Seattle will carry that mark over into the 2005 season. The 22 season wins is tied for the third most in NCAA history, only trailing Cal State Dominguez Hills and South Carolina-Spartanburgs 23 wins in a season.

The strong wind in Wichita Falls played a major part in this game, which could not be described as pretty. With the gusting winds, both teams had trouble figuring out exactly how to handle it.

Seattle chose to play into the wind to start and despite withstanding some strong pressure including a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar by John Matthews the Redhawks took the lead with two minutes left in the first half. Rivera sent a free kick from 45 yards into the box that Cameron Weaver (Kent, Wash./Skagit Valley College) headed to the far post. Adam Jensen (Missoula, Mont./Sentinel HS) rose above the defense and redirected the header back to the other side and into the net for the early lead. It was Jensens third goal of the NCAA tournament.

SIU-Edwardsville (19-3-2) wasted no time after halftime to tie the score. Victor Pacheco went on a 50-yard run down the left side of the field and cut to the middle at the endline. With Doyle cheating off his line slightly to cut off a cross, Pacheco slid the ball behind Doyle and in the goal at the tough angle to tie the score.

But, just as he has done all year, McAlister got the job done when he needed to. The junior received the ball at the top of the box and flipped it over the defenders head. With goalkeeper Nicholas Frasca charging, McAlister just touched the ball as it came back to his feet past Frasca leaving him alone in front of the goal for the game-winner.

No. 1 Redhawks 2, No. 6 SIU-Edwardsville 1

Scoring Summary
SUAdam Jensen (Cameron Weaver, Santa Maria Rivera), 43:00
SIUEVictor Pacheco (Unassisted), 48:55
SUBobby McAlister (Unassisted), 69:58
ShotsSIUE 12, Seattle 10
FoulsSIUE 14, Seattle 12
Corner KicksSIUE 3, Seattle 4
SavesSIUE 6 (Nicholas Frasca 6, Greg Crook 0), Seattle 6 (Jeremiah Doyle 6)
Cautions/EjectionsSIUE: Mike Banner (c); Seattle: Jacob Besagno (c), Santa Maria Rivera (c).
Attendance550

-- Courtesy Seattle University