SPORTS: Accolades pour in for Peninsula College men’s soccer program

PORT ANGELES — The trophy case at the Peninsula College gymnasium is running out of space.

School administrators are actually thinking about buying a bigger one.

They need to find some place to put all the accolades the men’s soccer program continues to pile up.

Of course, this year’s Pirates (11-3-4 overall) would like to add the one piece of hardware that has eluded head coach Andrew Chapman during his wildly successful eight-year tenure: an NWAACC title.

Making their third Final Four appearance in four years, they’ll get that chance this weekend starting with Saturday’s semifinal with Columbia Basin (12-3-4) at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila at 6:30 p.m.

“We started the season out No. 2 [in the NWAACC], so I think we’re now recognized that Peninsula College is a program to be reckoned with,” Chapman said.

“The next step would be finding that next day and winning.

“That’s what we’re all shooting for, so we can continue to go and move forward with this program.”

Obviously, the Pirates don’t have much further to go.

They’ve been on the NWAACC’s biggest stage twice before under Chapman, reaching the Final Four in 2007 and ’08.

Yet each time they’ve suffered a crushing one-goal defeat in the semis, once on a second half penalty kick (’07) and another on an overtime goal (’08).

After rising to a No. 1 ranking in the NWAACC coaches poll this fall, the Pirates went through a rough six-game stretch that saw them go 1-3-2.

The team rebounded just in time to win its final regular season match — 3-2 at Bellevue — and eventually claim its third West Division crown in four seasons.

The Pirates followed that up with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Whatcom in the NWAACC quarterfinals, coming back from an early 1-0 deficit to earn a trip to the Final Four.

“I think they just decided they weren’t going to be content with finishing out the season,” Chapman said of the Pirates’ rebound.

“I think what it was was they were ready to start fighting again. They were complacent for a little while, and then the end of the season came around and they realized they needed to fight for things.”

It also helped that Miguel Gonzalez started scoring goals again.

The freshmen striker from Yelm struggled with his scoring during the Pirates’ late-season swoon.

The Peninsula coaches eventually moved around the team’s alignment up front, and the results weren’t too far behind.

“We ran another striker that stayed high to create space for Miguel to be in,” Chapman said. “He likes the close quarters, but what he wants to do is get the ball and face up the opponent. He needs his space so he can get the ball and turn. And once he turns he’s not afraid of the close quarters.

Gonzalez scored five of his team-high 14 goals in the Pirates’ final three games.

This week he was named the West Division MVP, while four of his teammates were selected to the West Division All-Start team.

That included midfielder Tyler Hindmarch (5 goals, 2 assists), defender Jeff Mullen (3 assists), defender Brent Ricigliano (1 goal, 3 assists) and goalkeeper Jared Wilson (5 shutouts).

“He’s our leader on the field,” Chapman said of Gonzalez.

“He’s strong, he scores goals and he’s consistent. We may not be as far along as we are now without Miguel.”

The five All-Stars are the most Peninsula has ever had in one season; an indication of just how talented the Pirates are this season.

“We’ve given up the lowest amount of goals [18] in all the years we’ve coached,” said Chapman, who was also named West Division coach of the year for the third time.

“Definitely, we’ve done some good stuff about not giving up a lot of goals. But the nice thing about this team is it’s 20 freshmen [and seven sophomores].

“We’re going to play a team that’s got 12 sophomores. We’ll see what that means.”

The Pirates face a stingy defense in Columbia Basin.

The Hawks have given up just 16 goals this season while notching an NWAACC-best nine shutouts.

Waiting in the finals will be the winner of Saturday’s Highline-Shoreline match at 4 p.m.

“They are just a hard, hard-working team,” Chapman said of Columbia Basin. “I think the one thing we need to do is not panic, not to worry.

“Columbia Basin likes to put a lot of pressure on, so we just need not to get rattled. As long as we keep our composure and stay mentally strong I think we are going to be all right.”

Do that, and the Pirates just might add another trophy to the collect.

Or better yet, another banner.

“We point those out right away and say those banners aren’t going anywhere,” Chapman said. “Everybody who comes through here gets to see and read those names.

“The guys are more pumped up about getting their name on that gym wall than getting a trophy.”

More in Sports

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Tommy Post, part of a group basing at Sunland, tees off on the first hole of Peninsula Golf Club during Friday's session of the Clallam County Amateur Championship tournament.
AREA SPORTS: Clallam Amateur underway

Wrestling camp starts Wednesday in Port Angeles

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Wilder Jr.. batter Hunter Stratford takes his turn at bat in the third innning against Sting AAA on Thursday at Volunteer Field in Port Angeles.
LEGION BASEBALL: Wilder Junior drops doubleheader

Senior opens with shutout at Lakeside tournament

Enumclaw's Tim Harder caught this chinook while fishing off of Neah Bay.
King limit rising Saturday off Neah Bay, La Push

ANGLERS CAN RETAIN two kings while fishing off Neah Bay or La… Continue reading

Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
Former Seattle Seahawks special teams captain and current coach Neiko Thorpe instructs athletes during a football camp held recently at Spartan Stadium. Some 68 participants from Forks, Neah Bay, Hoquiam and Montesano turned out for the camp. Thorpe is married to Forks native Maegan Leppell.
AREA SPORTS: Everton soccer camp in Sequim

Jefferson County fall youth soccer registration open through Aug. 3

LEFTIES: Haggerty blast boosts Port Angeles in 3-2 win

Three-run homer Haggerty’s first bomb of the summer

Jeremy Giesegh of the Port Angeles Lefties, playing first base, tags a Bellingham runner during a pickoff attempt Sunday at Civic Field. Giesegh, who is batting .373, was selected to the North team for the West Coast League's first All-Star game since 2019. The game will be played in Bellingham. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
PORT ANGELES LEFTIES: Slugger Giesegh named to WCL All-Star team

Cal State, San Bernardino product is leading entire league with .373 batting average

Leftie Yahir Ramirez, pinch-running for Travis Helm, tries to get back to first base on a pickoff move by the Bellingham Bells. The ball sailed into foul territory which resulted in a two-base throwing error. Ramirez ended up scoring from third base on a fly out. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
There was a lot of smoke and flames during the Forks Fourth of July celebration at the  Tillicum Park Arena as a large crowd gathered to watch their favourite demolition cars in action.  Photo by Lonnie Archibald.
DEMOLITION DERBY: A smashing celebration in Forks

Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News The West End Motors car slammed the… Continue reading

Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News
Port Angeles' Matt Blair gets the bat on the ball in the third inning of their game against the Nanaimo NightOwls. His teammates and fans in the stands at Civic Field watch for a good result at the plate as they celebrate the Fourth of July at the ballpark.
LEFTIES: PA loads bases late in 5-2 loss to Nanaimo

Port Angeles spotted Nanaimo a five-run lead in a… Continue reading

Sequim's Jim Boekhoff recorded his first-ever hole-in-one while playing at The Cedars at Dungeness on June 29. 
Boekhoff aced the 131-yard par-3 17th hole using a Noodle ball and his 7-iron. The shot was witnessed by Paul Langdon and Bill Schless.
AREA SPORTS: Sequim’s Boekhoff drains first hole-in-one

Rivals youth football/cheer camp in PT