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PORT ANGELES — This is a big weekend for Peninsula College sports.
The Pirates open the NWAACC soccer playoffs at home Saturday in the quarterfinals for both the men’s and women’s teams, but first is Pirate Madness — the tip-off for men’s and women’s basketball Friday night.
The soccer teams, ranked No. 1 each in NWAACC, and ranked in the top 11 nationally, will play at Wally Sigmar Field.
The women’s game starts at 11 a.m. while the men’s match begins at 1:15 p.m.
The Pirate women, who won their second straight West Division crown this year, will host the winner between Lane of Eugene, Ore., and Treasure Valley of Ontario, Ore., in Saturday’s early game.
The Pirate men, who won their fourth straight West title, will host the South No. 2 vs. East No. 3 winner in the later game.
The women beat Treasure Valley 9-2 earlier in the year.
“But they have improved since we played them,” Peninsula coach Kanyon Anderson said.
Even so, the Pirates have had little trouble with teams that aren’t ranked right below them.
“It’s been a great year,” Anderson said.
Last year the Pirates, ranked No. 3, claimed second place behind three-time champion Walla Walla.
“We had to go through No. 2 Spokane to get to the championship match,” Anderson said.
This season Spokane won the East while Walla Walla was runner-up.
The Pirates 20-1-0 beat 14-1-3 Spokane by one earlier this year but had their only loss, 1-0, to nemesis Walla Walla, 14-2-3.
“There are five teams, including us, who are considered front-runners,” Anderson said.
The other two are Clackamas and Everett.
The Pirates have beaten Everett and Clackamas by two goals each.
“We expect our playoff road to the championship to be one-goal games,” Anderson said.
Peninsula enters the playoffs with one of the top NWAACC offensive weapons in all-time school leading scorer Briana Afoa, who has shattered the Pirate women’s scoring record with 20 goals.
She already has seven more goals than the previous mark with the playoffs still ahead. She also has eight assists on the season.
Afoa is in second in NWAACC scoring.
The Pirates enter the playoffs healthy.
“We are ready to go,” Anderson said.
The Pirate men’s and women’s teams are ranked nationally as well as No. 1 in NWAACC each.
The women’s team moved up to No. 11 and the Pirate men entered at No. 10 in last week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Junior College Division I Top 20 Poll.
Both Peninsula teams have owned the No. 1 ranking in the NWAACC Alaska Airlines Coaches Poll since it was released a few weeks into the season.
This year marks the first time in Peninsula College’s history that a soccer team was nationally ranked.
“It’s a tribute to the hard work of our coaching staff and our players, and the support of our fans,” athletic director Rick Ross said.
The first round of the NWAACC playoffs started Wednesday as the teams from the four regions that finished second and third battled for the right to play the division champions on their home fields Saturday.
There is no admission to the playoff games even though a donation helps the college athletic programs.
“We don’t charge admission because we want as many fans as we can get to the home games,” Anderson said.
“We want them to be loud and supportive.”
The Pirates have been drawing large crowds all year.
“We have been getting some really nice crowds,” Anderson said.
The night before the soccer playoff games, the Peninsula College men’s and women’s basketball programs officially tip off their seasons with Pirate Madness.
The madness begins on the Pirates’ newly refinished basketball court at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The night will be highlighted by team introductions, both men’s and women’s black-and-gold scrimmages, 3-point competitions and a slam-dunk contest.
Additionally, the Pirate Athletic Association is sponsoring a “Books for a Quarter” half-court shot for three lucky student fans.
If the selected student makes the half-court shot, he or she will receive a $250 gift certificate to The Bookaneer.
The Peninsula men’s team, coming off 25 wins and a Final-Four finish, has 13 new faces to introduce.
While the women, who are coming off their first berth into the NWAACC championships since 2009, have most of their core back from last season plus a few key additions to push them into NWAACC title contention.
“Admission is free and we encourage all to attend and support Peninsula College athletics as this will be a night of recognition, entertainment, and fun,” men’s coach Lance Von Vogt said.