The stakes were high and the drama even higher as the Peninsula College men’s soccer team was forced to go to 11 penalty kicks to finally beat Highline in the NWAC championship match on Nov. 12.
An exuberant Nil Grau, the North Region MVP, said after the match that something felt different about the team after a midseason loss.
“It’s been a lot of ups and downs this season, but I feel over the last month, we were invincible,” Grau said. “All these guys, all these lads deserve it. We are all family. We all deserve it.”
Peninsula and Highline ended regulation and two overtimes tied 2-2, sending the game to penalty kicks.
Both teams were nearly flawless as the entire Peninsula lineup — Nil Grau, Abdurahim Leigh, Brian Guzman, Tsubasa Abe, Pip van de Ende, Matthew Enriquez, Alfie Tucker, Fin Muotune, Zach Beehre and Brandon Wagner (Sequim) all made their kicks.
There were two especially dramatic moments in the penalty kicks. On Muotone’s first kick, the Highline keeper actually made the save to give Highline an advantage. But the referee ruled that the keeper had moved early, giving Muotune a rekick, which he made.
The same thing happened to Peninsula on the following kick as Laurin Lettow made a save to give Peninsula an apparent victory. But a rekick was awarded because Lettow had moved early.
Tied 10-10, the teams went back through the lineups and Grau made his second penalty kick. On the 22nd penalty kick, Lettow made another save. This time, there were no fouls and it stood up, giving the Pirates the victory.
Peninsula also won the NWAC champion in 2019 on penalty kicks. It is the sixth championship for the Pirates, who also won in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
PC women fall
In a game that came down to inches and could have easily gone either way, the Spokane women’s soccer team got the breaks and beat Peninsula College on penalty kicks in the NWAC semifinals on Nov. 9.
Spokane beat the Pirates 5-3 in penalty kicks. The difference? Spokane’s goalkeeper Kami Warden made a spectacular diving save on a penalty kick by Peninsula’s Maylin Rivera. Peninsula’s keeper Talia Marini made a diving near-save on the previous penalty kick, but the ball managed to go off her hands and into the net. She came within an inch or two of making the save.
“We’re feeling pretty blue,” said coach Kanyon Anderson. “It so easily could have gone our way. We don’t feel like we lost that game.”
Officially, the Pirates’ season ended with a 16-0-3 record. “We haven’t officially lost a game since 2019,” Anderson pointed out.