Peninsula got a tie-breaking score from John Troka with three minutes left in the game to edge Whatcom in Port Angeles on Saturday, a possible preview of an NWAACC playoff quarterfinal game.
The Pirates (12-3-3 in conference, 12-5-3 overall) travel to face South division No. 2 seed Clark today in the opening round of the playoffs. With a win, Peninsula would travel to Bellingham to face Whatcom, a team they've seen twice this season already.
After playing to a 2-2 tie on Oct. 4, it looked as if the Pirates and Orcas would meet a similar fate Saturday afternoon. Jay Kang, a Peninsula midfielder and Port Angeles High graduate, opened the scoring with a goal off an Omar Anderson assist at 15 minutes. It stayed that way until Orca Jon Hopkins found the net with six minutes on the game clock.
But Troka, a Kingston High School grad, found the net 87 minutes after the opening whistle on a 35-yard free kick that bent past the Whatcom keeper, giving the Pirates a 13-game unbeaten streak heading into the postseason.
"The team really played well," Peninsula coach Andrew Chapman said. "We talked about how this game was really important and how we need to protect ourselves for Clark. We sat some starters and rested others and were able to play lots of players and the team still stepped up to get the win."
Alec Risk got the win in goal, stopping three shots.
Peninsula finishes the season undefeated at home (7-0-2) while running up an eight-game winning streak and 11-0-2 record in those 13 unbeaten games. The NWAACC West division may be the NWAACC's toughest, as it features the top two ranked teams (Highline, Bellevue), the conference's hottest team (Peninsula) and another squad with a .500+ record (Tacoma).
Pirates clip Cardinals
The Pirates got a scare in another victory at Skagit Valley on Nov. 5.
Peninsula came away with a 3-0 win against the Cardinals, but starting goalkeeper Jase Hall was kicked in the head less than three minutes into the game and was rushed to the emergency room.
Backup keeper Luis Medrano, normally a midfielder, made five saves and recorded the shutout.
Hugo Vasquez opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season off an assist from Omar Anderson. Steve Williams found the net a little later, taking a pass from Sean Gaskins to make it 2-0 Pirates at the half.
Williams set up Sean Hummel for Hummel's first goal of the season to cap the scoring.
"We had a lot of chances in front of the goal but we could not put the ball into the back of their net more," Chapman said.
The win ran the Pirates' unbeaten streak to 12 games. In those dozen contests, the Pirates have given up just five goals and recorded nine shutouts, including the last four.
Team Conf. Over.
Highline 14-1-3 14-2-3
Bellevue 14-2-2 14-2-2
Peninsula 12-3-3 12-5-3
Tacoma 9-6-3 9-6-3
Olympic 1-16-1 1-16-1
Pirates in the
Peninsula College's Pirates make their fourth-consecutive appearance in the NWAACC tournament when they take on Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., at 1 p.m. today, Nov. 12. A win means Peninsula advances to play at Whatcom on Nov. 15 in the quarterfinals; a loss ends Peninsula's season. The NWACC semi-finals and finals are Nov. 22-23 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila.