Sports

Men's soccer: Pirates earn Final Four berth

 

Just in time.

For 89-plus minutes in Saturday’s NWAACC quarterfinal matchup, the top-ranked Peninsula Pirates peppered Chemeketa’s goal with shots only to come up empty.

Seems that a national ranking and nearly unblemished record had little effect on the visiting Storm, who despite being outshot by a three-to-one margin, kept pace with the Pirates.

“We were preparing for overtime,” Peninsula coach Andrew Chapman said.
But P.C. sophomore Daniel Gonzalez took a perfectly placed, looping pass from Richards Gallarde and headed it over Chemeketa keeper Anthony Wolf for a score and a 1-0 Peninsula win.

The victory sends the Pirates back to the NWAACC Final Four for the fifth time in six seasons and gives P.C. a chance at reclaiming the conference title it won in 2010.

Peninsula will face Edmonds at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. 

Oddly, Peninsula beat Edmonds 7-0 on Aug. 29 at the Starfire complex. Since then, Edmonds went 11-5-3 to win the NWAACC North. On Saturday, Edmonds knocked off Columbia Basin. 

With a win against Edmonds’ Tritons, the Pirates (21-1-1) would take on the winner of the Highline/Walla Walla semifinal at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, also at the Starfire complex, in the NWAACC championship.

For much of last weekend’s game against Chemeketa, it looked as if both teams would roll the dice in penalty kicks, as the Storm could rarely muster a consistent attack but weathered numerous Pirate volleys. P.C. sophomore scoring sensation Alex Martinez had the best chances, including a drive that just cleared the crossbar in the 25th minute, while teammate Morgan Lemus nearly scored midway through the first half with a sharp header, but to no avail.

“There is a reason why I have some much grey hair, it is because of games like this,” Chapman said. 

“Even though we controlled the ball for the majority of the game and outshot them, we really had a hard time getting the ball into their net. When it is a 0-0 game for so long … in the end it comes down to a great play by somebody.”

And that came in the form of Gonzalez, a 6-foot 1-inch sophomore midfielder from Yelm. With his brother Miguel — the Pirates’ all-time leading scorer who now plays for Seattle University — in the crowd, Gonzalez raced under Gallarde’s chip shot and bounded it past Wolf for the score.

Once the Pirates got possession with little time on the clock, all that was left was to run out the time, though players from both sides took exception to some overly physical play before the final whistle.

Guilherme Avelar, the Peninsula keeper, earned the shutout.

The Pirates had 26 shots on goal to Chemeketa’s eight.

Now, Peninsula has a shot to take back the title it won in 2010 when it edged Highline in penalty kicks.

“This (team) is better than the 2010 team,” Chapman said.

“Hopefully we will be able to stay healthy and finish what we started,” he said.

Postseason honors

Chapman, Peninsula's coach, was named West Division Coach of the Year, as announced Nov. 11 by the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.

Chapman, in his 10th year at the helm of the men’s program, won the award for the fourth time. He shares the award this year with Tacoma’s Jason Gjertsen.

 

Gonzalez was named the West Region's MVP. He ranks among the NWAACC’s top goal scorers and assist leaders. He follows Steve Prevost (2009) and his older brother Miguel Gonzalez (2010, 2011) as the fourth straight Pirate to win the MVP award. 

 

West Division All-Stars for the men, in addition to Gonzalez, are: Martinez, a freshman forward from Reno, Nevada; Henrique Noujeimi, a freshman forward from Belo Horizonte, Brazile; Irvin Somera, a freshman midfielder from Reno; Erick Urzua, a freshman midfielder from Portland; Aaron Jeffery, a sophomore defender from Safety Bay, Australia; Morgan Lemus, a sophomore defender from Reno; and Avelar, a sophomore keeper from Sao Paulo, Brazil. 


Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.
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