College Soccer: PC powering into playoffs

Peninsula Men's Soccer team clinch division, women on verge

Sequim Gazette staff


For one Peninsula College team, it was a week with a big win. For the other, a division crown.

PC’s women’s soccer squad can lock up a North Division crown with a win today, Oct. 28, against Whatcom.

Their male counterparts already have punched their NWAC playoff ticket, earning a division title.

Women wear down Everett’s Trojans

Advantage, Peninsula.

In what is until now likely the biggest regular season matchup in school history, the NWAC’s No. 2-ranked Peninsula women had the final answer in a 2-1 win against top-ranked Everett last week, putting the Pirates in the proverbial driver’s seat for the conference playoffs.

It didn’t come easy.

PC’s Myu Ban found fellow freshman Kennady Whitehead with a crossing shot and Whitehead, a redshirt frosh from Sparks, Nev., redirected it into the Everett net 11 minutes into the second half, snapping a 1-1 tie. Peninsula’s back line, led by Tori Hagen, Karen Corral and Kameryn Jury-Hale, held off the visiting Trojans for the remainder of the half for a key win.

That, coupled with a win against Skagit Valley on Oct. 24, has Peninsula one win away from locking up at least a tie for the North Division title.

The Pirates (12-1-0 in NWAC play, 17-1-0 overall) opened the scoring just nine minutes in when Hoku Afong crossed the ball into the middle Whitehead — who is all of 5 feet, 4 inches — soared above a crowd of Everett defenders to head the ball into the net.

Everett (11-2-0, 13-3-1) answered in the final minutes of the first half, however, after the squad was awarded a penalty kick. Trojan Ava Mana’o knocked it past a diving Pirate keeper Manaia Siania-Unutoa and it was 1-1 at intermission — setting the stage for Whitehead’s winning score.

It was the 100th win for Peninsula head coach Kanyon Anderson, who notched his first win on Sept. 12, 2010 — a 2-1 victory over Lane. (Anderson’s career mark improved to 100-16, with 13 draws.)

Last week’s Peninsula win was their second win against Everett this season; the Trojans took the first match, 1-0, in Everett on Sept. 16, before Peninsula exacted revenge on Oct. 3 at home.

Peninsula followed up the big win versus Everett with a 10-0 whitewashing of Skagit Valley’s Cardinals, who haven’t won a conference game this season.

Tasha Inong returned from injury last week and scored a hat trick against the Cardinals. Teammate Afong added two goals.

“We played well on a fast grass field,” Anderson said. “We were able to get the ball down to our feet and move it quickly, and once we found a gap in the defense, we were able to get at goal with purpose.”

The victory gives PC an 11-game winning streak heading into the season’s final week.

Peninsula’s women — who hold the conference lead in every major category (wins, goals for, goals against, shutouts) — host Whatcom on Oct. 28 before playing Edmonds on Oct. 31 to close the regular season.

If Peninsula can secure the North Division crown, they will host a match on Nov. 7 against either the East Division’s No. 2 team (currently North Idaho) or the No. 3 team from the South Division (Chemeketa or Clackamas).

The NWAC final four tournament is set for Nov. 14-15 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

Last season, Everett edged Peninsula 1-0 in the championship game. Peninsula won the two conference titles before that and placed second in 2011.

Men get the title

Not to be outdone by their classmates, Peninsula’s men earned a pair of huge wins last week.

Following the PC women’s victory against Everett, their male counterparts knocked off the visiting (and winless) Everett Trojans, then edged Skagit Valley on the road three days later to clinch the NWAC North Division title.

It’s the seventh straight division title and eighth overall, but the first division championship for first-year head coach Cale Rodriguez and also the first for PC in the North, where the Pirates moved this year after 15 years in the West Division.

Against Skagit on Oct. 24, Jonathan Martinez scored twice and withstood a late Skagit goal for a 2-1 victory.

That, combined with Everett’s 1-1 tie with Whatcom on Saturday, clinched the division. The men, ranked third in the Alaska Airlines NWAC Coaches Poll, are 10-1-2 in the North and 12-2-3 overall, 12 points ahead of Whatcom (7-2-4, 8-3-4) with only two matches remaining.

Peninsula started with week with a 5-2 win against Everett, on the strength of four first-half goals.

Keo Ponce opened the scoring, rocketing a shot past Trojan keeper Robert Temple at the 20-minute mark. Five minutes later Ponce again delivered, taking a cross-the-box feed from Vitor Maia for a 2-0 lead.

Everett responded at the 32-minute mark when Austin Panek looped a shot past PC keeper Nick Johnson, but Peninsula got it back on the very next play. Martinez charged through the middle and drew Trojans defenders, then fed Sam McEntire who knocked it into the lower left-hand corner for a 3-1 Peninsula lead.

David Joyce aded a score before halftime, taking a rebound off a McEntire shot for the 4-1 PC advantage.

Salvador Vargas got Peninsula’s fifth goal, an unassisted effort at 62 minutes.

Josh Heckenlively, playing the PC net in the second half, made two saves and gave up a score to Sergio Barrera at the 76-minute mark for the final tally.

Peninsula’s men host Whatcom on Oct. 28 before playing Edmonds on Oct. 31 to close the regular season.

With the North Division title, Peninsula gets a first round bye and a Nov. 7 home match against either the East Division No. 2 team (currently Walla Walla) or the South Division’s No. 3 team (currently Southwest Oregon).

The NWAC tournament final four is set for Nov. 14-15 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

The Pirates lost in the quarterfinals last season. They posted NWAC title victories in 2010, 2012 and 2013.