Men’s soccer: North Idaho ends Pirates’ streak SLIDESHOW

No. 1-ranked Cardinals top Peninsula in quarterfinals, 2-0

For the first time since 2009, the NWAC Final Four won’t feature Peninsula’s men’s team.

The conference’s top-ranked North Idaho College defended their home turf and ousted No. 3-ranked Peninsula from the NWAC playoffs 2-0 on Nov. 8 in Coeur d’Alene.

Braden Ridgewell opened the scoring at the 30-minute mark off an Alec Johnson assist and Brady Ulen got an insurance goal at 68 minutes as the Cardinals shut down the Pirate offense. North Idaho keeper Mitchell Markovetz earned the shutout.

P.C. keeper Oscar Torres had nine saves in defeat.

Against the Cardinals, the PC men struggled to maintain footing on a muddy NIC field, but they still managed to compete with the hosts for the entire match.

North Idaho got on the scoreboard in the 30th minute when Ulen took a free kick into the box. Torres leapt into traffic to punch away the ball but fell to the turf. With the P.C. keeper on the ground, Johnson volleyed the ball into an empty net for a 1-0 Cardinal lead.

The second goal came in the 68th minute when Johnson blasted a free kick that bounced off Torres and this time Ulen was there for the rebound goal.

“North Idaho played a very good game,” Anderson said. “They are athletic and strong in the air. The difference in the game was their ability to capitalize on their set pieces.”

The Pirates were the two-time defending NWAC champions and ranked No. 1 all season prior to falling to Highline on Oct. 22.

Peninsula outscored opponents 40-16 this season. In the past five seasons, the P.C. men are 88-7-13 overall.

They were ranked No. 1 for most of the year and had slipped to No. 4 following their only regular season loss and a couple of ties. They were also ranked in the top 10 nationally for most of the year.

“It was a fantastic group of players this year,” P.C. head coach Kanyon Anderson said. “The sophomores were good to each other and did a nice job of taking the freshmen under their wings. That bodes well for next year.”

The Pirates will graduate a very talented group of sophomores, including Dylan Clark, Sam Gaisford, Chris Galea, Brodi Keefe, Caio Maciel, Hugo Marques, Kassio Monteiro, Steve Rodriguez, Victor Sanchez, Julio Soto, Keevan Webb and Aaron Zavolokin.

“Every single player in this group has the talent to move on to play at the next level,” Anderson said. “I hope they do. It’s a special thing to get to be a college athlete and to be part of a team.”

Ripping the Raiders

Peninsula advanced out of the first round with a 3-0 whitewashing of Pierce at home on Nov. 5. And it could have been worse: P.C. outshot the Raiders 20-4.

“We’re beginning to find ourselves,” sophomore defender Brodi Keefe said following the game.

Chris Chertude checked into the match in the 23rd minute and scored on his first touch off, an assist from Kassio Monteiro for a 1-0 Pirate lead.

It stayed that way until four minutes into the second half, when Monteiro poked the ball over the Raider back line and it was a footrace to the ball between P.C.’s Eddie Benito and Raider keeper Gonzalo Contreras. Benito caught up to the ball in the air off a bounce and used the side of his right foot to flick it over Contreras for a 2-0 Peninsula advantage.

Five minutes later, Chertude dribbled crossed it to the middle where Julio Soto knocked it home, capping the scoring.

Aaron Zavolokin recorded the shutout, his second of the season, with two saves.