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.
PORT ANGELES – The Pirates are winding down their 2014 season and the ultimate prize, a third straight Northwest Athletic Conference championship, is still very much in sight for both the women and men.
The Peninsula women lead the West Division with a 12-1-0 record for 36 points, trailed by Highline at 11-1-1 for 34 points and Bellevue at 4-4-5 with 17. With just five matches remaining, the Pirates will try to sew up another West title, starting with Wednesday’s road trip to Lower Columbia and keying on their Oct. 22 home date with Highline.
The men also lead the West with an 8-0-1 record for 25 points. Highline is right behind at 7-1-2 for 23 points and Bellevue is a distant third at 4-5-0 for 12. The Pirates host Bellevue Tuesday for a make-up match at 2:15. The men then travel to Clark for a non-conference match against the third-ranked Penguins Saturday before hosting Highline for what may be the conference championship match on Oct. 22.
The Pirate women and men are both ranked No. 1 in the NWAC Alaska Airlines Poll. The women are ranked No. 7 and the men No. 8 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Junior College Division I Poll.