PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College sophomore midfielder Jose Serna is the men’s North Region Co-MVP, while men’s and women’s soccer coaches Jake Hughes and Kanyon Anderson were selected as North Region Coaches of the Year in voting announced by the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) on Tuesday.
Serna shared Co-MVP honors with Skagit Valley’s Paul Cuevas.
The Highland High School (Cowiche) product tallied four assists on the season, but his importance was felt far beyond the box score, according to Hughes.
“He’s a leader, he’s our captain, leads by example,” Hughes said. “His positivity was something we have built on as a program, to always take a positive perspective, and having him in the middle of all that made it easier.
“Really, a lot of the work he does goes without stats. If we took stats on interceptions, blocked passes, tackles, forced turnovers, passing accuracy and passing percentage and distance covered, he’d be the top of the charts on all of them. And he goes at it with a blue-collar mentality, but that doesn’t take anything away from his quality as a player. He’s a complete midfieldfer and we are fortunate to have him represent our program,” Hughes said.
Hughes said Serna, a member of the school’s Associated Student Council, also excels in the classroom making him an even more attractive prospect for a move to a four-year school.
“He has lots of interest from many different schools,” Hughes said. “He has all of his academics and extracurricular [activities] in order and is trying to find the right fit for him and his family.”
Serna was joined on the North/Sound All-Star squad by freshman forward Mason Haubrich, freshman midfielder Hide Inoue, sophomore defender Sterling Penniston-John and freshman goalkeeper Evan Scholes.
“The three freshman and Sterling all represented the program really well and worked hard this season,” Hughes said. “They’ve been successful on and off the field this season. These are the few players that have been recognized, but its really a collaborative effort from the coaching staff throughout the roster. As a program, we’ve done really well and those are the star performers.”
Hughes guided the Pirates to an 11-6-2 overall mark, 10-3-2 in North Region play, and a berth in the NWAC Tournament in his second year as head coach.
Anderson earned Coach of the Year honors for guiding the Peninsula women (14-0-1, 17-2-1) to an eighth-straight NWAC region championship and an eighth-consecutive NWAC Final 4 appearance.
Freshman forward Samantha Oliveira and sophomore forward Taylor Graham were picked to the all-star team along with sophomore midfielders Emilee Greve and Shantel Torres-Benito and sophomore defenders Sam Guzman and Halle Watson.
Oliveira is second in the NWAC with 21 goals, while Graham is tied for fourth with 18 goals.
“That’s the fourth-most goals we’ve had scored in a season,” Anderson said of Oliveira’s total.
“Sydney Warren with 31 last year and then Bri Afoa with 24 and 21. So she’s having a historical season in that regard.
“And Taylor is third all time in goals in PC history.”
Greve scored 11 goals and added four assists and Torres-Benito scored seven goals with six assists.
Anderson praised Greve for being an “awesome leader,” willing to do a lot of the dirty work in midfield.
He also said Torres-Benito does a great job of taking people on in her position in the middle.
Guzman and Watson have combined the past two seasons to anchor the Pirates’ defensive line.
They are fast, physical, skillful, the best centerback tandem in the league without a doubt.
“They can do everything. They can play everywhere on the field and be successful.”
No. 2 Peninsula will face No. 1 Highline (16-1-1) in the NWAC Semifinals at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila at 3 p.m. Friday.
If the Pirates fall Friday, their All-Stars will play for the North/South team against the East/West All-Stars at 9 a.m. Sunday at Starfire.
The Men’s All-Star Game will feature the North/South squad taking on the East/West team at 11 a.m.