Peninsula’s Mason Haubrich, right, battles for control with Whatcom’s Musab Bwana in September 2019 at Wally Sigmar Field in Port Angeles. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Northwest Athletic Conference postponed the start of the college soccer season until spring 2021. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Peninsula’s Mason Haubrich, right, battles for control with Whatcom’s Musab Bwana in September 2019 at Wally Sigmar Field in Port Angeles. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Northwest Athletic Conference postponed the start of the college soccer season until spring 2021. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

COLLEGE SOCCER: NWAC pushes season to the spring; basketball to start in January

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College’s soccer programs will swap its fall season for a spring schedule and the winter basketball season will begin in 2021 in return-to-play guidelines released Friday by the Northwest Athletic Conference.

Peninsula College Associate Dean for Athletics and Student Life Rick Ross confirmed the conference’s decision to move all fall sports to spring and delay the traditional November opening of basketball to 2021. All non-conference games were canceled.

“As an AD and NWAC soccer chair, I think this is the best possible plan given the circumstances,” Ross said. “We’re clearly not ready to bring in soccer players from all over the world in August. We have a lot of work to do to see where soccer can fit in with all of the other spring sports across the NWAC, but I’m optimistic we’ll be able to offer a safe and competitive playing experience in the spring.”

Peninsula’s men’s and women’s soccer teams will train this winter, and play will begin in March with a pair of scrimmages. League play will begin in April and May. No non-conference matches will be held. The championship match is set for June 6 at a to-be-determined site.

Basketball will begin in January as NWAC teams will skip non-conference games and tournaments. The Pirate men and women’s teams will have two scrimmages before getting right into NWAC North Region play with the conference championship game set May 16.

Only the top two squads from each region in soccer and basketball will qualify for the playoffs.

Ross said the athletic department is still figuring out an offseason training plan for this fall.

Peninsula College’s growing esports program is governed by a different association and unaffected by these moves.

“We’re expanding this year and will play either from our arena [on campus] or from home in the fall, winter and spring next year,” Ross said.

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