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.
LONGVIEW – The stage is set for Wednesday’s West Division showdown between the Northwest Athletic Conference’s top-ranked Pirates and the second-ranked Highline Thunderbirds at Sigmar Field.
The Pirates continued their astonishing dominance on defense with a school-record 15th shutout Wednesday at Lower Columbia where they overwhelmed the Red Devils 7-0. The Pirates have given up one goal in 16 matches. The next fewest goals allowed in the Washington-Oregon conference is Everett with six.
Wednesday’s home match against Highline is expected to determine the West Division championship. The Pirates are 13-1-0 in conference play, two points ahead of Highline, at 12-1-1. Kickoff is at 1:00.
Against the Lower Columbia women at a small rain-soaked field in Longview, the Pirate women found their way to the Red Devil goal seven times.
Lexi Krieger, a freshman from Portland, finished with a hat trick, scoring goals in the fourth, seventh and 54th minutes. Solana Ashe added two goals, and Tasha Inong and Brittney Yoshimura also got in on the fun with solo goals.
The assist column for the seven goals read “Yoshimura and Rodocker.” Brittney Yoshimura contributed three assists, her twin sister Brooke Yoshimura had a pair of assists, and Paxton Rodocker also offered up two assists.