Pirates push into postseason
by MICHAEL DASHIELL
Perhaps the Pirates are too inexperienced to know they're not supposed to be here, not this soon.
With a 2-0 win against Green River Saturday afternoon, Peninsula's women's soccer squad secured not only an NWAACC playoff berth but, after Highline fell to Bellevue Saturday morning, the Pirates locked up the West Division's No. 2 playoff seed and home game on Nov. 10.
Peninsula (6-4-5 in conference play) will host No. 6-ranked Spokane (7-4-3) at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, at Port Angeles' Civic Field.
"We didn't expect to catch Highline," Peninsula coach Kanyon Anderson said. "We set some goals at the beginning of the season. One was to get to the playoffs. Anything else is gravy."
The Pirates fought through some gravy of their own on Civic Field's wet turf, but that didn't stop Peninsula from grabbing an early lead against Green River on Saturday.
Coming in to the contest, Peninsula needed a win or tie to secure a playoff berth, while a P.C. loss would put Green River into the tournament.
It was Peninsula's Jackie Rodgers finding fellow frosh Kimberly Jones less than eight minutes into the match that opened the scoring. Peninsula's defense made the 1-0 lead stand up for the first half, out-hustling a Green River team fighting for their playoff lives.
Both teams came out slugging early into the second half, but Rodgers extended Peninsula's lead to two scores by rocketing a shot 30 yards into the upper left corner of the net.
Led by defender Felicia Collins, P.C.'s defense kept the back clean, helping goalkeeper Krystal Daniels earn her second shutout of the season.
"A lot of what we did today was based on the fact that the girls like each other," Anderson said. "They didn't want to see their season end."
The win gave Peninsula their sixth conference win and a playoff berth in their inaugural season, a fact not lost on this team of 15 freshmen.
"This (making the playoffs) was our No. 1 goal," said Shawna Thein, a midfielder from Alaska.
"We definitely want to go as far as we can. This was one of our strongest games. We couldn't have asked for better timing."
The bonus of that No. 2 seed came before the Pirates' game was complete, as Bellevue knocked off Highline 3-0 in a Saturday morning contest in Tukwila.
Now, instead of a road trip to Spokane, Peninsula can rest up and prepare for Wednesday's match-up against the Sasquatch.
"We've traveled fairly well, but that's a tough trip," Anderson said. "The ground is frozen there in Spokane. That's one factor you take out of it."
The Pirates are relatively healthy, aside from a rib injury defender Michelle Groshong suffered in the second half against Green River. Ashley Manker, who started the season the Pirates' goalkeeper, is back after a long-running injury. Anderson said Daniels is his starting keeper but he may juggle things around if needed, since the versatile Daniels also is a talented midfielder.
Pirates earn draw at Bellevue
On paper, the Pirates may have been ecstatic to take a tie away from their road trip to Bellevue.
On the pitch, it was another chance at locking up a postseason berth torpedoed by a second-half breakdown.
Peninsula jumped to a 2-0 lead against the No.-5 ranked Bulldogs but then gave up a pair of second-half scores in less than four minutes and came away with a draw on Nov. 3.
With a win, the Pirates would have locked up a playoff berth.
Neeya Hansen opened the scoring, finding the net at 29 minutes. Shawna Thein had the assist.
Jackie Rodgers made it 2-0 Pirates with a score 11 minutes later, taking a feed from Tabitha Bare.
Treva Leroy scored both of Bellevue's goals in the second half, both unassisted.
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.