Three former North Olympic prep soccer stars scored goals as the Peninsula College women breezed to the NWAC tournament semifinals with a 4-0 win over Pierce on Nov. 6 at Wally Sigmar Field.
The Pirates will meet East Region-champ Columbia Basin (12-2-2) at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Coached by former Peninsula men’s player and men’s and women’s assistant coach Omar Anderson, the Hawks and Pirates met in the second game of the year for each school back in August at Starfire.
The squads tied 0-0 with Columbia Basin playing an entrenched defensive style.
In Saturday’s quarterfinal victory, Nordland’s Grace Johnson put the Pirates on the board early with a well-struck goal in the 10th minute.
Peninsula controlled play for the remainder of the half with a number of good runs and chances, particularly by Millie Long and Malia Miller.
After a number of near misses, Long was subbed out close to halftime for some extra rest. She came off the field with a determined look and a message.
“After the first half when I didn’t score I was kind of frustrated in myself but I knew I had it in me,” Long said. “I know the coaches were around when I said ‘I really want to smash the ball in the back of the net today. I have this energy inside me and I needed to let it out.’”
After refocusing at halftime, Peninsula poured three more goals into the net with Port Angeles products Long and Kyrsten McGuffey teaming up on a goal in the 49th minute and Long adding a third score with a run started by Chiaki Takase in the 51st.
“We talked about not overthinking it and going out there and playing our game,” Long said. “We kind of struggled as a team winning the ball in midfield [in the first half], so we brought the energy up by encouraging each other, and we knew if we played our game, we would be fine.”
Pirates coach Kanyon Anderson knew his team was on the right track.
“Pierce was athletic, strong, and they had a lot of things going for them,” he said. “But I thought we could play better soccer. We knew we had another place we could go to, maybe Pierce did too.
“We also said it’s playoff soccer and we are ahead 1-0 at half. We don’t have to change anything, but we are capable of being better. And we showed it pretty quickly.”
Long’s loaded shot on goal bounced to McGuffey, who cleaned up the hard shot for her goal.
Three minutes later, Johnson corralled a ball and sent it up field, with Long eventually burying another hard strike.
“It wasn’t just my goal, it was a team goal. Without GJ hustling on that play we don’t get it,” Long said.
Pirates coach Kanyon Anderson was impressed.
“Millie was wonderful, this might have been the best game she played (this season),” Anderson said.
Addy Becker closed out the scoring, putting in a Mackenzie Huotari corner kick in the 70th minute.
“No surprise Addie scored a goal, too,” Anderson said.