PORT ANGELES — The Peninsula Pirates men’s soccer team found itself stymied for the first 67 minutes of a match against a skilled, very physical Wenatchee Valley College club, but erupted in a flurry of goals over 22 minutes to take a 3-0 victory Sunday.
The win keeps the Pirates unbeaten on the season.
“They were a well-organized and well-coached team,” said Peninsula coach Jake Hughes. “They’ll be in the mix at the end of the season.”
Hughes thought the Pirates were their own worst enemy at times in the first half, which ended tied 0-0.
“The second half was different. We played a little bit more forward and capitalized on some chances,” Hughes said.
The Pirates had eight shots in the second half — three of them were goals, two hit the crossbar and two hit the post.
The Pirates had some golden opportunities early in the second half. Fernando Tavares hit a beautiful high shot from 30 yards out that beat the goalkeeper in the 52nd minute, but hit the crossbar. Less than a minute later, Jonathan DeMotta had a wide-open shot in the box, but his shot went high over the crossbar. A couple of minutes after that, Nicholas Namwali had a similar wide-open shot close in that also went just high.
Peninsula’s hard work and dominance in the offensive end finally paid off in the 68th minute on a bit of a fluky play. Peninsula goalkeeper Ian Dalton boomed an outlet kick to midfield. The ball was missed by a Pirate on a header and went straight to Theodore Baiye deep in the offensive zone, who beat a defender with a nice move and scored. Dalton picked up a rare assist from the keeper position on the goal.
In the 79th minute, the Pirates picked up their second goal. Hayahide Sakamoto hit a crossing pass that went off the hands of the Wenatchee keeper. The ball bounced directly to Nico Hernandez, and Sakamoto raised his arms in celebration before Hernandez even took the shot. Hernandez calmly knocked the ball into the wide-open net on the play as Sakamoto picked up the assist.
Wenatchee Valley had a pretty good chance for a goal on a free kick in the 89th minute, but Dalton was able to just deflect the kick away with his fist from an open Knights’ player. The Pirates very quickly responded to that near-goal as Yutatus Taira made a beautiful through pass to Alfonso Edfeldt, who stayed onside and picked up an insurance goal. Taira gained the assist.
The game was a little testy, especially early with some pushing. There were five yellow cards, with Wenatchee Valley picking up four of them.
“It was a little chippy, not too chippy. There were one or two moments,” Hughes said. “Everyone moved on pretty quickly.”
Dalton made three saves to collect the shutout.
The Pirates will next begin league play with crossover games against the NWAC West Division. The men will play at Pierce College on Saturday.