Pirates headed back to Final Four
by MICHAEL DASHIELL
The Pirates are sailing in familiar seas, but still are looking for the treasure.
Peninsula got two goals from Miguel Gonzalez and shut out Whatcom in the second half for a 2-1 victory Saturday in the NWAACC quarterfinals, sending P.C. to the Final Four for the third trip in four years.
The visiting Orcas opened the scoring just eight minutes in when Nino Tursic booted his 18th goal of the campaign, sneaking it past Peninsula keeper Jared Wilson.
Whatcom looked to keep it 1-0 going into the halftime break, but Gonzalez took a pass from Dustin Walsh, slipped through the left side of the Orca defense and blasted the ball into the far post from way out to even the score.
"We started a little slow today and it cost us a goal," Peninsula coach Andrew Chapman said. "The team then started to pick up the intensity and we were able to dominate the flow of play for the remainder of the game."
The Pirates came out firing in the second half, getting what proved to be the game-winner about five minutes into the second half when Gonzalez got to a rebound in front of the Whatcom goal and put it in the back of the net.
The score was a school-record 14th of the season, breaking the mark of 13 set by Ernie Boham in 2007.
The Pirates had opportunities to expand on that lead but couldn't find the net.
Whatcom's Tursic, for his part, put a pair of shots on Wilson in the second frame, one glancing off the right post, but the Pirate defense and midfield kept the Orcas at bay.
Peninsula outshot Whatcom 15-3.
Peninsula advances to a Saturday, Nov. 20, evening semifinal match at the Starfire Complex in Tukwila against No. 1-ranked Columbia Basin.
The top-rated Hawks edged past Chemeketa 1-0 in the quarterfinals, getting a score from Kurt Russell with about five minutes remaining in the Nov. 13 match.
The winner of that match plays for the NWAACC championship at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21, against either Highline or Shoreline.
Highline twice defeated Peninsula this fall, both times by 1-0 margins.
Peninsula qualified for the NWAACC Final Four in 2007 and 2008, placing fourth both times after falling in both semifinal and third/fourth place games. The Pirates were knocked out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals last season by Chemeketa.
NWAACC semifinals, finals
When: Nov. 20-21; Peninsula opens at 6:30 p.m. vs. Columbia Basin
Where: Starfire Complex, Tukwila
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Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.