By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Thus far in early preseason training and exhibition contests the Peninsula College men’s soccer team has focused solely on the defensive side of the game, according to head coach Jake Hughes.
That defensive focus was evident Friday afternoon against University of the Fraser Valley, but the Pirates showed they have some skilled talent offensively, taking down the Cascades 4-1 in an exhibition contest at Wally Sigmar Field.
Fraser Valley is a four-year college that competes in the Canada West Pacific Conference alongside other British Columbia schools.
A first-half hat trick by freshman forward Nicolas Hernandez left the Fraser Valley head coach reminding one of his team members “Be a defender” and imploring their charges that “You’ve got to defend.”
“Offensively, we haven’t done any training, we haven’t practiced anything, so I just enjoyed their freedom and their willingness to look after the ball and look for penetrating passes for penetrating runs,” Hughes said. “When we were in front of the goal we were clinical. A couple of times in the first half we had some chances we were guilty of not putting in, but overall, I was really happy with the way we moved the ball forward.”
Hernandez, a Selah High School product, knotted the score at 1-1 in the 30th minute, and put the Pirates in front two minutes later, capping a perfectly struck pass into the goal box with an equally beautiful shot past Fraser Valley’s recently inserted goalkeeper.
Ten minutes later, Hernandez headed in his third goal in 12 minutes for a 3-1 halftime lead.
Freshman Jonathan De Motta added the fourth goal in the 89th minute, converting a penalty kick after he was hauled down in the box by the Cascades’ goalkeeper.
Hughes, who said before the match his team would be tested against the four-year school, was pleased with the defensive result.
“What we wanted to execute today was the team function of defending, getting compact with our two lines,” Hughes said. “In that regard I thought we were successful. We limited them to very few chances and the goal for them, we scored it off of a [deflected] corner [kick]. They were a really good team, they tested us and stretched us and asked some really good questions.
“I think we showed today that we are able to come up with some answers defensively and be dangerous going forward as well.”
Peninsula opens its regular season slate with a pair of games next week at the NWAC Friendlies at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. The Pirates will face host Highline at 2 p.m. Thursday and play Spokane at noon Friday.