In just the second year of women’s soccer at Peninsula College, head coach Kanyon Anderson took his Pirates all the way to the NWAACC championship game before settling for second place.
He didn’t leave much room to grow, but he did go out and find the players to help his returners take that next step.
Following signing ceremonies from Alaska to Hawaii, and one right here in Port Angeles, Anderson said he is very excited about his recruiting class, one that includes three players with state championship experience.
“They are good athletes with good skills,” he said. “These are players who have come from competitive leagues and have risen to the top.”
One of those players is Port Angeles’ own Paxton Rodocker, a First Team All-League defender, who was defensive MVP for two years.
“Paxton is one of, if not the best player on the Olympic Peninsula,” Anderson said.
“She has a rare blend of speed and strength and is exceptionally good with restarts. What impresses me most about Paxton is her total dedication to improving. In the three years I have watched her play, I have never seen her give less than her full effort — and that quality, combined with her natural talent, gives her a chance to be very, very good,” Anderson said.
“She also strikes the ball very hard which will allow her to score goals from the defense or midfield. It is great to have a local girl on the team, especially one who is so talented.”
Another Washingtonian to sign is Briana Estrellado, a midfielder/attacker out of Cheney High School. She was First Team All Great Northern League as a striker and team offensive MVP. She helped the Blackhawks to a second place finish at state. A sprinter, she also placed second at state on two different track and field relay teams.
“Briana is as skilled as any player I have seen in my recruiting,” Anderson said. “She hits the ball cleanly, she dribbles well and her first touch is impeccable. This combined with a competitive spirit, good speed and excellent field vision makes her a dangerous weapon. She is a difficult matchup for opposing defenses. If she is given time on the ball, she can pick a team apart with her intelligent and skillful passing. If she is pressured, she will blow past her defender on the dribble. Briana is truly a weapon and I expect her to have a big, big freshman season.”
The third player to sign from Washington was Annie Armstrong, a midfielder out of Olympia High School. She was Second Team All Narrows League (Class 4A), Second Team All-Olympia Area Team and team MVP and she played for the Washington Premier ECNL team that was ranked No. 2 in the Northwest for her age group.
“Annie is a player who can do everything well,” Anderson said. “She is fast, fit, skilled, strong and intelligent. On top of all of this, she works very hard. Annie will have an opportunity to contribute immediately in the central midfield where her one-on-one skills will allow her to break down defenses. Annie will be one of the top midfielders in the NWAACC as a freshman and I expect that she will be a vital part of our attack. There are few players that can match up with her one-on-one and because she is constantly moving she creates many more opportunities for herself and teammates than just about any player I have seen.”
South of the boarder, coach Anderson signed Dominique Niedjiela, a defender out of Aloha High School in Beaverton, Ore. She was a four-year varsity player, the 2011 defensive MVP and captain of the West Side Metros for the past two years.
“Dominique is going to be a powerful presence in our central defense,” Anderson said. “She is tall, fast, strong and dominant in the air. Her athleticism is off the charts and her willingness to get involved in physical play will make life miserable for opposing strikers. Like all talented central players, Dominique has a great enthusiasm for the game which will motivate her teammates. It is no surprise to me that Dominique was recruited by many colleges and universities. We are very happy to have her. She has the potential to be one of the most successful ball winners in the league.”
Joining the Pirates from Alaska this fall will be Nichole Vanni, a midfielder from Wasilla High School, and Randi Muotka, a defender out of Service High School in Anchorage.
Vanni is a four-year varsity starter, First Team All-Conference as a sophomore and junior, Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore and a member of a club team that won state championships from 2008-2010.
“Nikki has been described to me as ‘the best player to come out of the Northern Lights Conference in a decade,” Anderson said. That is quite a compliment considering the talented players we have had from that league (Jessica Farrell, Tabitha Bare, Kendra Miner, Ashlynn Frizzell). Nikki is a fantastic ball winner, she is composed on the ball, and she has the ability to beat defenders off the dribble in bunches. She will be a player that will help us win the vital central midfield battle and she is a shoe-in for another All-Conference selection this year. In my opinion, Nikki is the best midfielder in Alaska.”
Muotka was part of a team that won the Alaska State championship in 2011 and second place in the Beaverton Cup in 2008. She was the Ina K Tournament MVP in 2008 and First Team All-Region in 2011.
“Randi is an intelligent defender who reads the game very well,” Anderson said. “She understands defensive shape, spacing and patience. These qualities assure me that Randi will be able to help organize the back line of defense and distribute the ball well once she wins in back. She is blessed with natural skill and athleticism, her high work rate and positive attitude only add to what she is capable of achieving. One of the most impressive qualities about Randi is that she is getting better all the time. If she continues to improve at his rate, and I know she will, there is no telling how good she can be. I am really looking forward to seeing the incredible things she accomplishes at P.C. and beyond.”
Joining the Pirates from Hawaii is Misty Kaiwi, a defender out of Kapolei High. She is a three-time All-League selection, was part of a state championship team in 2008 and played for the Leahi Premier Soccer Club in Oahu.
“What impresses me most about Misty is her composure with the ball,” Anderson said. “Like most center backs, Misty has the ability to win the ball back from attackers, but it is her ability to pass and dribble once she has the ball that separates her from most players her age. She does not get rattled under pressure and her touch rarely lets her down.
“She has the skill and vision of a central midfielder but she is as strong and physical as any high school center back. This combination gives her every opportunity to be one of the best center backs in the league. She anchored and led the most athletic back line in this year’s Hawaii State Championships and she will play a big role in our defensive plans this year.”