Sports

Pirates are champs, again

After a long season that started more than two months ago and 4,500 miles away, the foes, battered and beaten on the field, in the standings and in the polls, found each other in a deadlock.

Only an obscure tiebreak-er would settle the matter.

With a 2-0 win against Tacoma on Saturday afternoon, Peninsula secured at least a share of the 2009 NWAACC West division championship.

But Bellevue's Bulldogs, scheduled to play winless Olympic on Nov. 9, gets the coveted No. 1 seed heading into the NWAACC playoffs if they win, gaining a first-round bye but also avoiding a road trip to No. 1-ranked Chemeketa in the second round.

Peninsula, presumably the West division's No. 2 seed, would open the playoffs by hosting Edmonds, the NWAACC North's No. 3 seed, at 2 p.m. in Port Angeles on Nov. 11.

With a win against Edmonds, Peninsula advances to play at Chemeketa on Nov. 14.

After starting the season in Ireland and winning just three of their first eight games, the Pirates have a 9-1-4 mark in their final 14 games.

Ranked No. 6 in the latest poll, Peninsula had a chance to secure that No. 1 seed by beating Bellevue at home on Nov. 4.

But, as their records and history indicate, the two teams wouldn't settle this matter cleanly.

After a scoreless first half, Bellevue broke through six minutes into the second half when Diego Robayo slipped a shot past Peninsula keeper Jase Hall on a tough-angled, right-to-left crossing shot.

Peninsula looked to have the equalizer when Patrick Wolverton scored on a remarkable bicycle kick with 15 minutes remaining, but the score was waived off thanks to an offside call.

The drama heightened when, moments later, Peninsula's John Troka and Bellevue's Ricardo Benedetti were ejected for what appeared to be an away-from-the-ball incident. Benedetti received a second yellow card while Troka received a red card.

"He (the referee) said that our guy punched him or whatever," Peninsula coach Chapman said. "The linesman said that he (Benedetti) started it. My question is, if their guy got a yellow card, why did my guy get a straight red? That's just not right. And I don't think the linesman saw it all."

With the Pirates blitzing Bulldog keeper Fabian Morales and the Bellevue goal, Jubril Gude took a pass from Steve Prevost and snuck it into the upper left corner with just three minutes to go.

"Bellevue's a good team and it was a good game - for what we were allowed to play," Chapman said.

Bellevue outshot Peninsula 15-12. Both Hall and Morales came up with a number of acrobatic saves during the shootout.

Three days later, Peninsula blanked Tacoma, getting scores from Cory Matthews and Cody Sloan.

Steve Williams chalked up assists for both goals while Hall earned the shutout.

"The guys played very hard today knowing that this game was the last chance for a title," Chapman said.

The Pirates are looking to break through in the postseason, after back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the NWAACC playoffs.

Even with a first round win, going through Chemeketa won't be easy. The Storm, runner-ups to champ NWAACC Walla Walla in 2008, have outscored opponents 79-12 and have given up more than one goal just twice all season.

"We've got to beat them eventually if we want to win it all anyway," Chapman said.

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.



NWAACC West standings

Team Lg. Over.

Peninsula 7-2-4 11-4-5

Bellevue* 6-2-4 10-4-4

Highline 4-6-3 9-8-3

Tacoma 3-9-1 3-9-1

Olympic* 0-12-0 0-13-0

* - Bellevue, Olympic

scheduled to play Nov. 9

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