TUKWILA — The regular-season opening NWAC Friendlies proved to downright rude to the Peninsula College men’s and women’s soccer teams.
Both teams went 0-2 in nonleague contests at Starfire Sports Complex on Thursday and Friday.
The Pirate women fell 4-2 to Highline in a rematch of the 2017 and 2016 NWAC Championship matches and 1-0 to Walla Walla, last season’s East Division champs.
Meanwhile, the Peninsula men allowed two second-half goals in a 2-1 loss to Tacoma and were blanked 1-0 by Columbia Basin.
Effort was lacking at times in the losses, according to Pirates women’s coach Kanyon Anderson. And that was a problem for a team seeking to replace the top six players, including the school’s all-time leading goal-scorer Sydney Warren, from last-season’s NWAC-record setting offensive juggernaut.
“The first one against Highline — I’m sure they will be the No. 1 team when the coaches poll comes out in a few days — we played a good team and that one, a lot of that you have to give credit to Highline,” Anderson said.
“They are a good team, they provided a good challenge and it’s probably a fair result. I thought we had a good second half. We scored two goals and played them even after not coming out very strong in the first half.”
Peninsula trailed Highline 1-0 at halftime and 2-0 after a Thunderbirds goal in the 52nd minute.
Shantel Torres-Benito scored an unassisted goal for the Pirates in the 62nd minute to make it 2-1, and Cindy Vasquez found the net on an assist by Torres-Benito to make it 3-2 in the 71st minute.
But the T-Birds’ Jewel Boland, who scored the championship-winning goal against Peninsula last season, added an insurance tally in the 75th.
“Our second game was really uninspired,” Anderson said. “We didn’t play hard. Soccer is a game that requires a lot of effort and we didn’t get people’s best efforts, we played like this is good enough.”
Anderson said Walla Walla had just one shot on target, the eventual game winner in the 57th minute.
“They deserved the win, they played with a lot more heart,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, those are things that we can fix. “We are young and we have to figure out where the goals are going to come from. “It’s a been awhile since we’ve had to replace so much, but it all starts with effort.”
Anderson said two Pirates’ goals were taken off the board.
“We had goals called back twice, we probably were offsides on both of them, but those are things we could fix,” Anderson said. “We aren’t very good right now, but we have the right people and the right talent to be good.”
Peninsula will host two solid teams next weekend: a noon game Saturday against Spokane and a 10 a.m. contest Sunday against North Idaho.
“We are going to play a hungry Spokane team, a motivated, talented team, and North Idaho is a perennial playoff team,” Anderson said.
”One of our players, Cindy Vasquez, a sophomore leader, said to everybody after the [Walla Walla] game, ‘Hey guys, we need to work hard this week.’ And that’s such a simple message, but very much needed.”
Men’s coach Jake Hughes said his team is still working some things out.
“Both games were winnable games for us but a few errors led to their goals,” he said.
“We created ample chances offensively, we just didn’t put the ball in the net and if you don’t do that you aren’t going to win.
He was pleased with the fight his team showed against Columbia Basin.
“I thought our character and desire was pretty evident in the second game against CBC,” Hughes said. “We showed heart and battled for 90 minutes and it showed me we have a good group of mature players who understand the game.
“That was the biggest takeaway for me. We created ample chances, but that final touch on the ball was lacking.”