Pirates shut down Walla Walla, on to Final Four | Peninsula College Athletics

Pirates shut down Walla Walla, on to Final Four

PORT ANGELES – The NWAC’s top-ranked Pirates played like a team on a mission Saturday, steamrolling a talented Walla Walla team 5-0 in front of the home fans in the Quarterfinal Round of the NWAC playoffs.

Peninsula improved to 17-1-1 on the season, advancing to the NWAC Final Four for the sixth straight year. The Pirates tackle sixth-ranked North Idaho, 14-2-3, at 12:30 Friday at Starfire Stadium in the first of two Friday afternoon semifinals.

The NWAC championship match is set for 2:30 on Sunday, also at Starfire Stadium. The Pirates hope to etch their name on the tournament trophy this year after winning the title in 2012 and 2013 and then placing second in 2014 and third last year.

Admission to Starfire is $15 per day, or $24 for a Friday-Sunday pass, for adults. Rates are discounted for seniors, staff, military, and youth.

NWAC matches will be video streamed. Fans can check the NWAC site for that link.

In Saturday’s quarterfinal win, the Pirates dominated a very talented and well-coached team that finished third in a strong East Division.

The game-changer may have come in the fourth minute when freshman keeper Akari Hoshino laid out for a shot to the corner of the goal, deflecting it wide. The Pirate defense then stepped up and Walla Walla never got another opportunity like that one.

Meanwhile, the Pirate offense took over, breaking onto the scoreboard in the 11th minute when Kennady Whitehead struck a corner kick into the box where Maddy Parton elevated and headed home the first goal of the match.

Hoku Afong, who leads the Pirates in goals with 15, scored in the 34th minute and Ellie Small made it 3-0 at the half, assisted by Kelly Kevershan.

The Pirates then tacked on two goals in the second half, as coach Kanyon Anderson was able to play his bench liberally. Sydney Warren, who started Saturday, scored in the 54th minute, assisted by Parton, and then in the final minutes of the match, freshman Sarah Reiber took a volley out of the air and looped it over the Warrior keeper for her first goal as a Pirate.

Hoshino recorded her eighth shutout of the season and her defensive mates, led by Audrey Barham, Kameryn Jury-Hale, Isabel Vega, Cierra Hamilton, Malia Brudvik, and defensive midfielder Kennady Whitehead, completely shut down the Warriors.

Photo by Jay Cline