1993 – Around the World and Close to Home
The European Union is created, Boris Yeltsin’s forces repel a revolt in Russian Parliament and after 300 years of white minority rule, South Africa moves toward Black majority rule, ending apartheid. President Clinton hosts the APEC summit on Puget Sound’s Blake Island, during western Washington’s Inaugural Day storm winds reach 94 mph and lead to six deaths and extensive power outages, and in his first year as manager Lou Piniella guides the Seattle Mariners to only their second winning record.
A Fifth Title for Falcons
While championships are largely associated with the given season they are won, sometimes it is the capstone to an effort that began years before. It is the final step – and a big one – in a steady progression.
From 1990-94, Seattle Pacific might have won an NCAA Division II championship in any combination of those seasons. During that span, the Falcons twice reached the semifinals and the final twice, and a quarterfinal. Three were decided via penalties, another in overtime. Suffice to say, SPU was always there, knocking on the proverbial door. In 1993, Seattle Pacific broke down that door.
The era of one-conference-fits-all was bygone, with Portland and Washington joining Division I conferences, but the difference between them and a power such as SPU was still negligible. Several players had either been offered at D1s or transferred away to join a Seattle Pacific program that traveled as much as any team in the country and tested itself against the best. As a result, the Falcons feature a spine of All-Americans in Marcus Hahnemann, James Dunn and Jason Dunn. All are seniors, experienced and at the top of the craft. Surrounding them is a cast consisting of budding stars such as Nate Daligcon and Ricci Greenwood and solid role players. Several players were coming off winning the U.S. Amateur Cup with Seattle’s Murphy’s Pub just weeks ahead of the collegiate season.
Jason Dunn, one of Murphy’s standouts, begins in midseason form, scoring 11 times in starting 9-1-0. And then he got hot. Against 5th-ranked Tampa, Dunn erupts for a record six goals. He follows with two hat tricks in the next three games, including three goals and two assists to beat Portland, 6-2 in overtime, the Div. I Pilots’ worst loss in five years. Next, Greenwood scores in overtime to top Washington, 1-0, as Hahnemann earns his record 43rd career shutout.
There is adversity to overcome, namely, a red-card suspension to Hahnemann for the semifinal. With him, Seattle Pacific and top-ranked and undefeated Florida Tech play a game for the ages, a 4-hour, 7-minute marathon that extends past midnight in Melbourne, Florida. The Panthers pull ahead, 5-3, in the second overtime, but SPU refuses to surrender and goes forward in numbers. After sweeper James Dunn pulls on the keeper shirt to become an 11th attacker, Travis Connell's header closes the gap to 5-4 with 62 seconds left. Then Jason Dunn uncorks a low 25-yard drive which caroms into the net off a lunging defender as the clock expires. The teams then play another 30 minutes of sudden-death overtime before finally settling matters in a gut-wrenching, 13-round penalty shootout. James Dunn, still in goal, makes two saves, Jason converts two kicks and SPU wins the tiebreaker, 10-9.
Although physically and emotionally spent, Seattle Pacific parlays an early goal by freshman Dominic Dickerson and clutch goalkeeping from Hahnemann into a 1-0 result in the championship game against Southern Connecticut. It is the Falcons’ fifth championship, the most in Division II.
“The ’93 team was filled with players who had one common goal: to win,” says Jason Dunn. “The players were never in it to pad their stats or be the top guy so that they got drafted or invited to a combine. Those opportunities just weren’t around then. We were unselfish, and we complemented each other. Everyone knew their role, from the starting 11 to the super subs to the last man on the bench. And we did a pretty good job at it. It is a great attribute to have, and it stemmed from our coaching staff.
“Cliff wanted to win, and he instilled in us all his awesome traits about winning,” adds Dunn. “Coming off the semi loss in ’92 and having the championship within reach made us so more hungry in ’93. I think back at all the friendships we developed, and the fun we had while winning made that ’93 team so much more special than any other team around.”