UPS v. PLU: Rivalry or not?

A cross-town rivalry

Two private universities sharing one town are bound to be natural enemies.

University of Puget Sound, home of the Loggers and 2,600 students, is located in downtown Tacoma, WA.

Pacific Lutheran University, home of the Lutes and 3,300 students, is located in Parkland, WA.

PLU was founded in 1890 and UPS was founded in 1888. The schools are only about 10 miles apart.

Both schools boast high standards of academic excellence and athletic performance.

Photo Courtesy of Samantha Lund

Photo Courtesy of Samantha Lund

But there cannot be two best schools in Pierce County and PLU and UPS cannot both be Tacoma’s best college sports team.

There’s little indication of other factors contributing to the rivalry other than the location itself, and some are very passionate about the rivalry while others deny its very existence.

This season

Recently, PLU women’s soccer beat UPS, and the Lutes won this rivalry game for the first time since 1998. The game was for first place in the Northwest Conference.

However, UPS was the victor in the case of men’s soccer and the Loggers beat the Lutes two to one.

The Lutes were also victorious with football this season, winning the rivalry face-off game for the ninth year in a row. The final score was Lutes-42, UPS-27.

Rivalry in the news

To pep up the locals about this year’s rivalry football game, The Tacoma News Tribune had an article featuring the quarterbacks from both schools.

They also had coverage  of that game.

Student media at both schools have also been covering the UPS, PLU rivalry.

A recent article in The Mooring Mast  by a PLU student discussed location as the most likely origin of the rivalry.

Pacific Lutheran University Football Photo Credit of Samantha Lund

Pacific Lutheran University Football
Photo Credit of Samantha Lund

UPS’s The Trail also had an article  on the rivalry, which said that, “The goal for every year for the University of Puget Sound’s athletic department is to finish above Pacific Lutheran.”

But, PLU football coach Scott Westering said he treats this game just like any other.

“It’s about a faceless opponent,” Westering said.

Westering also said that people, reporters especially, like to make something more out of rivalry games. But he says that PLU football likes to focus on, “what a team does, not who they are.”

Check out the Lutes v. Loggers’ game day Storify here.



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