Coach Kanyon Anderson works with members fo the Peninsula College women’s soccer team at a practice earlier this month. The women are defending NWAC champions. (Photo courtesy of Peninsula College)

Coach Kanyon Anderson works with members fo the Peninsula College women’s soccer team at a practice earlier this month. The women are defending NWAC champions. (Photo courtesy of Peninsula College)

PENINSULA WOMEN’S SOCCER PREVIEW: Defending NWAC champions look to keep success going

Pirates likely not as dominant as last year, coach says

PORT ANGELES — The Peninsula College women’s college team always has high standards and goals, but don’t expect some of last year’s record-shattering numbers from this year’s squad, said head coach Kanyon Anderson.

The Peninsula women won the Northwest Athletic Conference championship last year, their fifth championship since 2012.

They broke all kinds of records doing it, too. The women allowed only two goals in league play and three goals in the entire 20-game season while going 18-0-2. At one point, the women had 12 shutouts in a row and went more than 1,000 straight minutes without allowing a goal. They outscored their opponents by the shocking margin of 60-3.

Anderson said last year’s team was so good and so deep, he thinks he could have split the squad in half and either team could have won the NWAC title.

“We’re taking it a little bit at a time and I know we’re in a good space, but we’re not last year’s team,” Anderson said. “Last year’s team was insane.

“Last year was arguably the best team I’ve ever seen in the NWAC in 12 years,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of liberating to know we’re not trying to compete with that.”

For instance, the women just completed a pair of scrimmages in Canada against the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, B.C. They gave up six goals in those two matches.

The Pirates were so good last year they had players coming off the bench who are now starting for four-year colleges.

Still, the Pirates bring a lot of players back from last year’s team. “We have enough good players that there are high hopes,” he said.

Last year’s leading goal-scorer, Chimacum High School’s Grace Johnson, has moved on to play at Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif. The Pirates’ second-leading scorer with eight goals, Port Angeles’ Millie Long, is back this year for her sophomore year.

Another local product, Krysten McGuffey of Port Angeles, graduated and moved on after last year, but Long will be joined on this year’s team by Sequim’s Hannah Wagner. Anderson said Wagner has looked good so far and scored a goal and tallied an assist during the scrimmages in Canada.

Anderson said other players Pirates fans should keep an eye on include third-year mid center back Rylee Sims (some players got an extra year of junior college eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Also returning is a “wonderful and talented” player, according to Anderson, Chiaki Takase of Japan, who scored four goals last year.

Hedvig Persson and Frida Markstrom, two returning players, are expected to handle the goalkeeper duties.

Newcomers that Anderson expects to contribute are a pair of players from the big island of Hawaii, Briana-Jean Tanaka and the Big Island prep Player of the Year Keilee Silva. Lauren LaFountain from Reno was her league’s defensive player of the year. Other newcomers Anderson mentioned are Taya Bohenko of Las Vegas, Sydney Soskis of Corvallis, Ore., and Blake Plummer of Juneau, Alaska.

Anderson expects the North to be very competitive this year. He said Skagit Valley is very close to being a Final Four team and new North team Bellevue should be tough. Shoreline and Everett also look to have improved, he said.

The women get a pair of nonconference games beginning Tuesday at the Starfire Soccer Complex in Tukwila. They play Spokane on Tuesday and Umpqua on Wednesday. The Pirates get a week off and then begin North Division play at Everett on Sept. 3. The Pirates play their first home game at Wally Sigmar Field against Whatcom on Sept. 17.

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