No. 1 Pirates host No. 8 Walla Walla in Saturday's Quarterfinal | Peninsula College Athletics

No. 1 Pirates host No. 8 Walla Walla in Saturday's Quarterfinal

PORT ANGELES – The stage is set for Saturday’s Northwest Athletic Conference Quarterfinal Soccer Playoffs at Peninsula College, where the nationally-ranked soccer powerhouse Pirates will host Walla Walla in the women’s match and Tacoma in the men’s contest.

The winners will advance to the NWAC Final Four, set for Nov. 11-13 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila.

The Pirate women and men, who have been a fixture at the Final Four for six years, winning six NWAC championships and a host of runner-up and third-place trophies, will have to get past two very talented teams on Saturday. Kickoff for the women’s match is noon and the men will follow at 2 p.m.

 “This is the last chance for our community to see two nationally-ranked junior college soccer teams play at home this season,” said Rick Ross, Associate Dean for Athletics and Student Life. “On paper, we’re the favorites, but none of the records and rankings matter in the post season. Both Walla Walla and Tacoma are talented and well coached. It’ll be intense.”

Both Pirate teams are ranked No. 1 in the NWAC. The men are ranked No. 7 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of American Junior College Division I Poll and the PC women moved up to No. 13 in the country.

Admission for Saturday's doubleheader is $4 for adults, $2 for seniors, veterans and youth ages 13-17, and free for children 12-under.


Women: Peninsula vs. Walla Walla, noon
The Pirate women, 16-1-1, went 15-0 in conference play, going unbeaten for only the second time in the program’s seven-year history. The Pirates went 16-0 in conference in 2013 and went on to win the NWAC title that year. This year, Peninsula has scored 84 goals thus far, second only to Spokane, and led the NWAC in goals against with five. The Pirates also lead the Washington-Oregon conference in shutouts with 15.

Walla Walla, a 1-0 winner over Tacoma in Wednesday’s NWAC first round playoff, is ranked No. 8. The Warriors placed third in the East Division with a 9-4-1 record, going 14-5-2 overall. Walla Walla ranks third in the NWAC in scoring with 73 goals, but the Warriors have allowed 23. They have 11 shutouts.

Individually, Peninsula is led by Hoku Afong, who’s 14 goals rank her 11th among NWAC scorers. Teammate Sydney Warren has 10 off the bench, Ellie Small and Mariah Perez each have seven, while Coby Yoshimura, Maddy Parton, Kelly Kevershan, and Jayna Morikawa have five apiece. Afong and Perez lead the team in assists, with seven each.

Defensively, the Pirate back line has been almost impenetrable, led by Kameryn Jury-Hale, Audrey Barham, Cierra Hamilton, Bailie Zuber, Isabel Vega, and Malia Brudvik.

Also key to the Pirates attack is forward Bri Vallente, who is just back from an extended ankle sprain, as well as midfielders Kennady Whitehead and Jazmin Ramos.

Keeper Akari Hoshino is tied for fifth in the NWAC with seven shutouts.

And while the Warriors won’t know exactly who to key on to slow down the Pirates, there’s no question who Peninsula defenders will be keeping an eye on. Walla Walla’s Haley Berryman leads the NWAC in scoring with 29 goals and four assists. The next leading scorers are Jessica Garcia with nine goals and Tate Kautzky and Hannah Thompson with five each. Kautzky also leads the team in assists with seven.

Warrior keeper Paige Kubista has five shutouts.

Men: Peninsula vs. Tacoma, 2 p.m.
The men’s quarterfinal matches two great teams with impressive statistics.

The Pirates, who haven’t lost since October of 2015, went 14-0-1 in conference play, unbeaten for the fourth time in school history, 16-0-2 overall, and scored an NWAC-best 68 goals while allowing just 14. Peninsula has nine shutouts, second only to Spokane with 10.

Tacoma is ranked No. 4 in the final NWAC poll. The Titans finished second behind Highline in the West Region, going 8-1-3 and 12-2-5 overall. Tacoma scored 45 goals, allowed 18 and recorded seven shutouts.

The Titans, who battled Walla Walla to a 1-1 tie in regulation, defeated the Warriors 3-1 in a shootout in Wednesday’s first round playoff to advance to the quarterfinal round.

Individually, Peninsula has scored by committee this year, led by Cesar Gervacio, who is tied for fourth in among NWAC scorers with 13 goals, 10 from Juan Carrillo, seven from Joey Hollimon, and five each from Kevin Medina, Salvador Vargas and Jose Soto.

Carrillo and Medina lead the Pirates in assists with six each, which is sixth best in the NWAC in that category. Hollimon and Vargas each have five.

Defensively, Peninsula’s back line is as strong as anyone in the NWAC. Jose Soto, Jason Ramos, Clarence Wong, Michael Day and Demar Stewart have provided keeper Brannon Dwyer lots of help, as the freshman has recorded six shutouts. Teammate Sergio Uribe has two more.

Tacoma, meanwhile, is led by Connor Desmond, who’s 11 goals ranks seventh in the NWAC. He also has an impressive seven assists. Dario Semadeni is another offensive player to watch, with eight goals, and Mackenzie Smith has five goals and four assists.

Titan keeper Evan Munn has seven shutouts, which has him tied for first in the NWAC.