Sports

New era for Pirates

The season hasn't started and already Kanyon Anderson's players are breaking a sweat on this particular August afternoon.

Most of the young women, ranging from freshmen right out of high school to 25-year-olds returning to college and the sport they love, are feeling the heat.

Considering many of them are from Alaska or the west side of Washington state, it makes sense.

The few who aren't dragging - those hailing from Nevada and Texas - chirp during the practice, "This isn't hot."

Anderson smiles. Even these warm weather players haven't sweated out a collegiate game yet.

The Pirates enter their inaugural season with a mix of young and younger, locals and out-of-staters, all freshmen when it comes to junior college soccer.

"The biggest adjustment is that they're from all over," Anderson says. "Most of them don't know each other."

They'll soon have to if they expect to keep up with the NWAACC West Division foes. The Pirates are playing a bit of catch-up with the league as they kick off their first season.

Anderson aimed to build a solid lineup this spring when school officials nixed the softball program in favor of a women's soccer team.

He signed Port Angeles' Neeya Hansen, an Olympic League honorable mention as the league's eighth-leading scorer, to a letter of intent, then nabbed players from the West Sound and Alaska.

Top recruits include Krystal Daniels, a goalkeeper from Kentridge High School, captain of her soccer team in 2009; Michele Harrod, a defender from Cascade High School in Leavenworth who was a four-year letter winner in soccer and track; Ashley Manker, a goalkeeper from Coupeville High where she was second-team All-League; Kristen Atkins, a soccer and track MVP from Carmichael, Calif.; and Dalyn Jones, a midfielder/striker from Texas who was a three-year starter for the Lady Eagles, a team that has reached the playoffs for nine consecutive years.

Peninsula basketball standouts Dena Houser and Neomi Carter are also on the squad.

Anderson coached high school girls teams but that was a decade ago. Since then he's coached mostly in the men's ranks, notably as an assistant with Andrew Chapman's Pirate men.

At the end of P.C. men's soccer practices, Anderson found himself with a sore throat after much yelling. Coaching young women is quite different, he says, watching his players figure out the mechanics of a practice drill.

"Here, it's more of a dialog," he says.

It will take more than talk to win games in the NWAAC, however.

Peninsula's season begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, with a home date against Skagit Valley. The Pirates are at Everett on Aug. 31 and back home Sept. 2 against Whatcom.



Peninsula College women's soccer

Head coach: Kanyon Anderson (first year)

Returning players: none (team's inaugural season)

Top newcomers: Kristen Atkins, Krystal Daniels, Dalyn Jones, Ashley Manker, Neeya Hansen, Michele Harrod

Key dates: Sept. 2 vs. Whatcom, Sept. 24 at Clackamas, Sept. 29 vs. Tacoma, Oct. 16 vs. Bellevue, Oct. 30 vs. Olympic

Outlook: The future is wide open for these young Pirates. With 18 players from various backgrounds and levels of play, it's hard to tell how the first-year club will gel and perform. P.C. has a strong record of turning new programs around quickly, particularly if Anderson follows colleague Andrew Chapman's example.



Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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