PORT ANGELES – Wednesday’s West Division showdown between Northwest Athletic Conference powers Peninsula College and Highline lived up to its billing, with two hard-fought matches at a rainy Sigmar Field, but it was the visiting Thunderbirds who spoiled the Pirate party, escaping with a 0-0 tie in the women’s match and a 1-0 victory in the men’s contest.
The Peninsula women remain in the driver’s seat for their third straight West Division championship, while the men will need some help to capture what would have been their sixth straight West title had they prevailed on Wednesday.
Pirate coaches, players and fans were stunned when the final whistle sounded in the men’s match, which broke two streaks. It was their first loss in two seasons, and it was their first loss at Sigmar Field since it was opened in the fall of 2011.
Both PC teams, however, are very much alive in their quest to win three straight NWAC soccer championships.
The Pirate women are 13-1-1 in conference play, which gives them 40 points with three matches remaining. Should they win out against fourth-place Bellevue at home Saturday, last-place Grays Harbor at home Wednesday and sixth-place Olympic at Bremerton on Nov. 1, they would finish with 49 points. The Highline women currently have 41 points, with a 13-1-2 record, but only have two matches remaining. Should they win out against Lower Columbia and Tacoma, they would finish in second place with 47 points.
The Pirate men, meanwhile, fell to 8-1-2 in conference play, and now trail 9-1-2 Highline by three points, 29-26. The Pirates and T-birds each have two matches remaining, but Highline has a tiebreaker advantage over Peninsula, so it would take a tie and a loss or two losses for the PC men to catch their rivals from Des Moines.
PORT ANGELES – Peninsula College soccer players and fans are bracing themselves for the biggest day of the 2014 season.
The Pirate women and men tackle Highline at 1:00 and 3:00 Wednesday in matches that will not only determine who wins the West Division, but ultimately who has the best path to the Northwest Athletic Conference Final Four.
“If you’re even a casual soccer fan, you need to get time off work, arrange sitting, whatever you need to do to be here,” said Director of Athletics Rick Ross. “It will be a showcase of great college soccer.”
The women’s match features the two-time defending NWAC champion Pirates, who are currently ranked No. 1 in the NWAC and No. 6 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s latest Division I Junior College Poll. The Peninsula women are 13-1-0 in West Division play and 15-1-0 overall. They trail Highline by one point in the West, partly due to playing one less match than the Thunderbirds. The T-birds are 13-1-1 in the West and 15-1-1 overall, and are tied with Everet for the No. 2 ranking in the NWAC. Highline’s only loss was a 2-0 home setback to the Pirates. The PC women’s only loss was a 1-0 match at Everett.
PORT ANGELES – Following a second straight tie, clearly the sky is falling and the world is crumbling around the Peninsula College men’s soccer team.
Or is it?
Peninsula remains atop the West Division by three points, with three matches remaining, in their quest for a sixth straight West championship; the Pirates remain atop the Northwest Athletic Conference Alaska Airlines Coaches Poll as the only unbeaten team in the NWAC in their quest for a third straight NWAC championship; and the PC men are currently ranked No. 8 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division I Junior College Poll.
Despite all of that, the mood as the Pirate faithful exited Sigmar Field Tuesday following a 0-0 tie with Bellevue was sober. Peninsula had outshot the West Division’s third-place Bulldogs 16-5 and managed to hit every post, crossbar, and backstop, not to mention seven outstanding saves by BC keeper Daniel Faundez, without scoring a goal.
It was also a match that took a physical toll on the Pirates. Peninsula trainer Margie Bowlby was the busiest player on the team, treating a number of Pirates and Bulldogs throughout a brutal 90 minutes that saw three key Pirates knocked out of the game. Starting keeper Aaron Zavolokin went down with a shoulder injury, Kassio Monteiro was treated at Olympic Medical Center for a bloody facial cut, and Julio Soto suffered a foot injury.