They may be four wins behind Highline in the standings, but Peninsula College's men's soccer squad proved they can play with the best in the West.
The Pirates scored two first-half goals and survived an offensive onslaught in the second half to come away with a 2-2 tie against West Division co-leader Highline last Wednesday.
"We're young and still trying to figure things out," Peninsula coach Andrew Chapman said. "(But) we knew going in there aren't many teams that could outplay us."
Peninsula opened the scoring at 24 minutes when Teagan Cambier stopped a Highline clearing pass and found Omar Anderson, who dribbled past the Highline keeper for a score, Anderson's third of the season.
Peninsula made it 2-0 about 15 minutes later when Luis Medrano found Hugo Vasquez for a header that found the net.
It stayed 2-0 until halftime, but in the second half the Thunderbirds showed why they are undefeated in conference play. Fernando Gonzalez (53 minutes) and Tony Maxwell (75 minutes) got unassisted goals in the second half, the equalizer coming on a penalty kick.
"I like the fact that (the Pirates) didn't give up, that they played with intensity and heart that we didn't have in the past," Chapman said.
Peninsula keeper Alec Risk had six saves; Peninsula out-shot Highline 13-12.
Next up for the Pirates is a home date with Tacoma (4-5-2 in NWAACC) on Oct. 15. The game is key to Peninsula's playoff hopes; with Bellevue and Highline likely locking up playoff seeds soon, both Peninsula and Tacoma are vying for the third and final playoff position. The Pirates maintain a one-point lead in the West division standings.
In the NWAACC playoffs, the West division No. 3 seed plays the South division No. 2 seed (currently, 4-5-1 Clark College); then, with a win, that seed plays the North No. 1 (currently, 6-3-1 Whatcom CC).
But no looking ahead for the Pirates just yet.
"Right now, we've just got to get into the playoffs," Chapman said.