No. 1 Pirates vs. No. 5 Lane to meet in Saturday's NWAC Semifinal

PORT ANGELES – The Northwest Athletic Conference’s top-ranked and two-time defending NWAC champion Peninsula College Pirates tackle the fifth-ranked Lane Titans at 1:00 Saturday in the first of two NWAC Semifinal women’s soccer matches at Starfire Sports in Tukwia.

The match features two teams that are no stranger to the NWAC playoffs.

Peninsula College launched women’s soccer in 2010 and found immediate success. Head coach Kanyon Anderson guided that first-year team to the NWAC playoffs with a second-place finish in the West Division. In 2011, the Pirates went all the way to the NWAC championship before settling for second place. Then, in 2012 the Pirates won the first-ever women’s NWAC championship for Peninsula College. They repeated with a thrilling win in the title match in 2013.

This year, the Pirates are ranked No. 4 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division I Junior Soccer Poll, their highest national ranking in the five-year history of the program. They are ranked No. 1 in the NWAC, they are four-time defending West Division champions, they are sporting an 18-1-2 record, and perhaps the most remarkable statistic is that they have scored 78 goals and given up only two in 21 matches.

Lane Community College, located in Eugene, Oregon, launched women’s soccer in 2005. The Titans just missed the playoffs that year, but have qualified every year since, placing second in the South Division six times and third twice.

This season, however, marked the first time in Lane’s history that the Titans won the South Division championship and Saturday’s 2-1 Quarterfinal Playoff win over Shoreline lifted the Lane women to the Semifinal round of the NWAC playoffs for only the second time in that college’s 10-year history. The Titans are ranked No. 5 in the NWAC with a very impressive 15-2-2 record. They have scored 45 goals and given up 10.

“Lane is a solid team from top to bottom,” Anderson said. “They don’t give up many goals and they don’t seem to have any glaring weaknesses. They started a bit slowly on the season, but have gone 15-1-0 in their last 16 with 11 shutouts.”

Anderson also had high praise for Taylor Boyer, a sophomore midfielder who transferred to Lane from the University of Oregon.

“They have the most dangerous goal scorer in the league,” he said of Boyer. “She can hurt you if you lose sight of her for a second. We will have to play an intelligent, focused game to win.”

 That is exactly what the Pirates have done all season, especially on the defensive side of the pitch.

Both teams are well coached.

Anderson’s success at Peninsula is unprecedented with two NWAC titles and three championship appearances in his five years at the helm.

Lane is coached by Erica Jensen, who was only hired in July, but who came to Lane with significant collegiate and club coaching experience and has enjoyed a very successful freshman season.

The Pirate scoring attack is led by freshman C.J. Stetser with 10 goals, freshman Lexi Krieger with nine and freshman Tasha Inong, freshman Paige Mahuka and sophomore Mary Pierce, each with seven. Alyssa Bertuleit leads the team in assists with 10, Paxton Rodocker has eight and Brittney Yoshimura has seven. All three are sophomores.

Defensively, sophomore Kamryn Barney is the Pirate leader and she has a great core of defenders with her, including sophomore Brooke Yoshimura and Tori Hagen. The Pirates also have a strong core of keepers, led by sophomore Emily Flinn, who has yet to be scored on in 2014 with six shutouts, and sophomore Kasie Lough, who ranks fifth in the NWAC in shutouts with seven.

In addition to Boyer, the NWAC’s fifth-leading scorer with 17 goals, the Titans are led by Karlee Wilcox with eight goals and Anna Goodrie and Serena Boehm with four each. Boyer and Goodrie lead in assists with seven each and keeper Erica Cogbum has the second most shutouts in the NWAC with 11.

Admission to Starfire for Saturday’s match is $14, plus a $5 parking pass.

 

Saturday’s four semifinal matches, Sunday’s two All-Star matches, and Sunday’s two championship matches will be video streamed. Fans can find the link on the NWAC web site.