Peninsula gears up for first title defense; MVP Afoa back to lead team

Sequim Gazette staff

A shot that riccochets off the crossbar instead of finding the net. A questionable call in the penalty box. A freak injury.


Perhaps more than any sport, Kanyon Anderson says, soccer can be fickle when it comes to fate.

“Sometimes the best team doesn’t always win,” he says.


That’s why the head coach of the defending NWAACC champion Peninsula College Pirates is getting his team to focus on themselves — not the rest of the NWAACC and not the big target the fourth-year program has on its back.


“Playing the best we can play, being the best unit we can be — that’s something you can control,” Anderson says.


The 2012 Pirates did exactly that and found themselves atop the heap of the conference after posting a 23-1-0 record and edging Spokane in penalty kicks in the title game.


As is always the case in junior college athletics, programs can change drastically in the span of a season, but Peninsula boasts a number of key returning players. Back in Pirate gold and black is Hawaii native Bri Afoa. Last season’s all-everything racked up every major award — West Region MVP, tournament MVP and the first-ever NWAACC Player of the Year honor — after breaking Peninsula’s single-season scoring record with 23.


Also back are midfielders Annie Armstrong and Brianna Estrallado, and defenders Misty Kaiwi and Shelbi Vienna Hallam.


A reserve last season, Laura Morgan takes over in goal after Denae Brooks minded the net sssss