PORT ANGELES — The Peninsula College women’s soccer team got two first-half goals from a pair of their veterans, then held on tight against a late surge by North Idaho to win 2-1 in their first Northwest Athletic Conference match of the year at Wally Sigmar Field.
The Pirates have already shown that as usual, they are among the NWAC elite. North Idaho is a solid team ranked No. 6 in the NWAC. The Cardinals came in to Saturday’s match 1-0 after a 2-0 win over Green River. They were also 13-2-4 last year and made it to the NWAC quarterfinals.
Coach Kanyon Anderson said the end of the match was “a little stressful” and felt the team’s chemistry might have been disrupted by some late substitutions. But overall, he was happy with how the women played.
“I was mostly pleased. We were pretty organized on defense. And we had a couple of nice offensive moments,” Anderson said. “The offensive cohesion will hopefully develop.”
The Pirates, the defending North Region champions, got on the board in the 17th minute when midfielder Emma Crystal made a good lead pass to Sydney Soskis streaking down the right wing. Soskis then crossed the ball to Taya Bohenko in front of the net for a goal. Soskis collected an assist.
The Pirates’ next goal in the 23rd minute was even better. Briana-Jean Tanaka, who scored nine goals for the Pirates last season, tops among their returning players, made a solo run from near midfield and booted a 22-yard shot from outside the penalty box off the left post to make it 2-0. Her goal was unassisted.
The score remained 2-0 until the 86th minute when the Cardinals’ Faith George scored on a long shot from 25 yards out that just sneaked in under the crossbar over the outstretched arms of Pirates’ goalkeeper Talia Marini.
North Idaho got a few chances in the final minutes of regulation and stoppage time, one on a dangerous cross right across the goal mouth that didn’t quite connect, another on a free kick from 40 yards out that bounced free in the goal area, a third on a hard shot that was nullified due to offsides and yet another chance when a North Idaho player appeared open in the penalty area with the ball for an instant and chose to pass. The Pirates’ defenders broke up that play. In the end, the Cardinals weren’t able to get a good onsides shot off in those final minutes as Peninsula held on for the win.
Marini, who also plays basketball for the Pirates, got the victory in goal. She came to Peninsula to play soccer but contributed heavily to the basketball team last year, making it three straight years that the Pirates have two-way players in basketball and soccer (Port Angeles’ Millie Long played both basketball and soccer for the Pirates and now plays both sports for Cal Poly, Humboldt.). Also getting in the game were Port Angeles’ Anna Petty and Sequim’s Hannah Wagner.
It likely won’t get any easier for the Pirates (1-0) as they are scheduled to play Lower Columbia on Tuesday (air quality permitting) at the NWAC Friendlies at the Starfire Soccer Complex in Tukwila and Centralia on Wednesday, also at Starfire. Lower Columbia (14-3-6 in 2022) is the defending West Region champion and made it to the NWAC semifinals last season. Centralia was 9-9-2 last year.