PORT ANGELES — The Peninsula College men’s soccer team went up against one of the top teams in the Northwest Athletic Conference on Saturday, getting a late goal from Shu Kato to force a 2-2 tie with North Region rival Whatcom.
It was a battle between two highly touted programs. Whatcom was ranked No. 3 in the NWAC in the latest coach’s poll while Peninsula was ranked No. 4.
In the women’s game, the Pirates easily won 11-1 over Whatcom, getting eight goals in the first half.
Back to the men’s game, Peninsula got on the board almost immediately, getting a goal from Alfonso Edfeldt in the second minute of the game. Don Valos Dovas assisted.
Whatcom responded with a pair of quick goals and took a 2-1 lead less than 10 minutes into the match.
After that point, the teams settled down and the score remained 2-1 for most of the rest of the game.
Peninsula tied it up in the 68th minute on a free kick in a sequence that was almost all Shu Kato. First, Kato drew a foul when he was hauled down by an Orcas defender, who earned a yellow card, deep in Whatcom territory just outside the penalty box.
Yusaku Shimakura took the free kick, lofting a perfect ball into the penalty area that Kato headed for a near-goal. Whatcom goalkeeper Luis Mendoza was just able to keep the ball out of the net, but he couldn’t gain control of the ball, which eventually came back out to Kato. With his back to the net, Kato’s hard work finally paid off as he was able to turn and loft a shot that trickled past Mendoza and into the net.
With the draw, the Pirates gain a point and helped create quite a logjam at the top of the powerful North Region. No. 2-ranked Everett is 5-0-0 for 15 points. Whatcom is 4-0-1 (13 points), Skagit Valley is 4-1-1 (12 points) and Peninsula 3-1-1 (10 points).
The Peninsula men play at Tacoma (4-3-0) on Wednesday in a crossover match that will count in league standings.
The Pirates got a hat trick from Briana-Jean Tanaka in their win. Millie Long scored two goals and had two assists and Angelica Gutierrez had two goals.
Also scoring goals were Chiaki Takase, Alexia Rodriguez-Burdeaux, Kira Meechudhone and Taya Bohenko. Kiarra Scheib had an assist.
Peninsula had 29 shots in the win, 22 of which were on goal. The Pirates nearly had a shutout but Whatcom was able to score in the 87th minute.
It was Long’s fourth multi-goal game of the season. She now has nine goals in five games, good for second in the NWAC.
Peninsula (2-0-0, 4-0-1) gets a week off and hosts a good Shoreline team (1-0-0, 3-1-0) in what should be a better match next Saturday at Wally Sigmar Field.