PORT ANGELES — Dominance in a downpour — a simple summation of the Peninsula College women’s soccer team’s 7-0 shutout of Shoreline on Wednesday night at Wally Sigmar Field.
The Pirates took 42 shots in the contest and held the Dolphins to zero chances at the Peninsula net to earn the win and seal the program’s ninth consecutive NWAC North Region title, a first-round bye in the NWAC Tournament and a home NWAC Quarterfinal contest later on in November.
Pirates head coach Kanyon Anderson, the only head coach in the team’s 10-season history, was thoughtful when asked what the common thread has been through the years.
“We try to be grateful for how awesome it is to get to play here,” Anderson said. “That’s kind of been the overriding theme — that it means something to be a Peninsula College soccer player. We look for players who understand that and realize there are super-high expectations here. I think that has been the common bond that the expectations are high and that its a privilege to be here.”
Peninsula (11-0-0, 15-0-0) celebrated with song, a modified sea shanty in front of the fans who stayed through the intermittent downpours on a dark and stormy Alumni Night at Sigmar Field.
“It meant a lot to them,” Anderson said of his players. “And to clinch it we haven’t dropped a point up until now.
“We could have gotten casual, we could have gotten complacent considering we had four more games left to pick up a single point [and clinch the North Region title], but that just hasn’t been the mentality the whole time, it’s been very focused.”
Chimacum’s Grace Johnson put the Pirates on the board first in the 17th minute, collecting a Kaiya Dennis shot that trickled out away from the goalkeeper and finding the net from a tricky right-to-left angle for a 1-0 lead.
“Grace Johnson, she’s a really saavy player and she’s going to be such a good player as a sophomore,” Anderson said of the homegrown freshman.
Asked to play wider in the early going against Shoreline’s packed-in defense, Miya Clarke assisted on a Sammy Howa goal in the 23rd. The barrage was on after that with Jordan Zarate adding a goal off the bench and fellow substitute Addie Becker coming on, earning a penalty kick and finishing confidently low and left for the first of her two goals.
Becker added a second goal in the 43rd minute, following up on a teammate’s shot to slam home the rebound for a 5-0 halftime lead.
“She’s been playing really well for us,” Anderson said of Becker, who has scored three goals in the last two contests for Peninsula. “And Sammy Howa too, so reliable and so selfless as a player.”
Clarke scored a goal in the 56th minute, building up the play with some nifty dribbling on the right side of the goal box before firing a shot to the upper left corner.
And Zarate finished off the scoring, earning her brace with an 82nd minute score.
Anderson was pleased with how his team collectively stepped forward to shoulder the scoring load. NWAC-leading scorer Sam Oliveira was held scoreless, but her mere presence on the field had Shoreline shook.
“I think it’s a reflection of understanding that a defense can take certain things away from you but they can’t take everything away from you,” Anderson said of his team’s ability to find the net. “And there’s a give and take. If they are going to take option A, then option B might be something to consider. Tonight, they man-marked Sam Oliveira because she’s the leading scorer in the league and it made it easier for those goals that we scored — we scored five goals from the central midfielder spot and a lot of that was Sam Oliveira moving and pulling that defender out and creating lanes to goal.”
And he was more than satisfied with the maturity his back line showed defensively.
“Sometimes when everybody is in attack mode a ball will bounce out — and when we played them last game they took one shot and scored,” Anderson said. “There was some maturity from our back line instead of being like, ‘I want to get in on the attack.’”
With four regular-season games remaining, the Pirates will build for the postseason run.
“There’s two things really in a season,” Anderson said. “You look at your team and think are we good enough to win them both — the division title and then the conference title.
“I think this team is good enough to win them both, they think they are good enough to win them both. So we shift focus a little bit and use the next four games as essentially the preseason for the playoffs.
“We have a couple of weeks to get playoff ready, and that might mean resting some people at certain points, putting in new wrinkles to what we are trying to do offensively. We can start to look at how can we tweak this or tweak that.
“We aren’t worried about a perfect season. We want to win those last three [playoff games]. It’s not about the record or the rankings.”
Nope, at this point, Peninsula is seeking one more ring for the thumb: the program’s fifth NWAC Conference championship.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]