PORT ANGELES — Overcoming the physical play of the unbeaten Whatcom Orcas and a late penalty pick, the Peninsula College men’s soccer team rallied in the last 12 minutes to score a pair of goals to win 4-2.
The game was a battle of two titans of the NWAC. Both teams came in the game 10-0-0. Defending NWAC champion Peninsula is ranked No. 1 in the league and Whatcom came in to the match ranked No. 2.
The women, meanwhile remained unbeaten with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Whatcom.
And the game lived up to the hype. The game was physical with 24 fouls called and 10 yellow cards, six to Peninsula and four to Whatcom.
“There were some good tactical battles,” said Peninsula coach Jake Hughes. “That’s a very talented team. It was a good North [Region] rivalry game.”
The half ended tied 1-1 with Peninsula getting a goal in the fourth minute from Nico Hernandez (assisted by Tim Deser, who kicked a 50-yard outlet pass from his own penalty box).
The Pirates took a lead early in the second half on a goal from Christopher Dominguez with an assist to Yusaku Shimakura.
In the 60th minute, there was a critical call against the Pirates. There was contact between Pirates goalkeeper Ian Dalton and an Whatcom player in the box and a penalty was called (And a yellow card was given to Dalton). That gave Whatcom a penalty kick to tie the game at 2-2 with 33 minutes left in the game.
“They were most effective off our mistakes,” Hughes said. “We have a lot more to work on.”
It was the kind of play that might have made some teams frustrated. But the Pirates responded with a pair of goals. The first came in the 79th minute when Chunghwan Lee blasted a hard shot from the edge of the penalty box. Whatcom keeper Luis Mendoza got his hands on Lee’s shot, but it was so hard, he couldn’t control the ball and it trickled through him and into the net.
“I think that showed our class and mentality,” Hughes said.
Whatcom had one scary scoring opportunity late, getting a free kick deep in Peninsula’s zone. The ball was headed directly at Dalton, who calmly corralled the ball.
Kai Biegler scored a stoppage- time goal, again pounding a hard shot right through Whatcom’s keeper, with the assist going to Theodore Baiye, putting the game out of reach.
Port Angeles High School graduate Kyrsten McGuffey was the hero of the women’s game, getting the lone goal of the match in the 40th minute on a corner kick from Cece Jenkins, who picked up the assist.
It was another stellar defensive performance from the Peninsula women. It was the eighth shutout of the year out of 11 total games. It was also the fourth straight shutout. The women have now gone 384 straight minutes, not counting stoppage time, without allowing a goal. One of the women’s recent victories was a 1-0 forfeit, which doesn’t count in the scoreless streak.
The last goal the women allowed was on Sept. 22 and they have allowed two goals all season.
Perhaps one flaw with this unbeaten team is that it has struggled to score in the past four games. The Pirates have seven goals in that span and have had two 0-0 draws this season.
Coach Kanyon Anderson said one problem is that the Pirates are so good at controlling the ball teams are packing the defensive zone on Peninsula.
“We’re almost our own worst enemy,” Anderson said. “Teams back their defenses way, way up on us. What’s happening is teams are so committed to defense on us.” Anderson also said the North Region has some legitimately good teams such as Skagit Valley and Whatcom.
Anderson is proud of the defensive accomplishments and is a little surprised.
“I would have thought that our identity would have been offense, but maybe it’s our defense,” he said.
The women (9-0-2, 8-0-1 North Region) will get a forfeit win over Everett, which suspended its season due to loss of players. The men (11-0-0, 8-0-0) play at Everett at 3:30 p.m. The game can be viewed at www.nwacsportsnetwork.com.