Men's Soccer Quarterfinal Preview
Photo: Wilson Tsoi
Men’s Quarterfinals – November 7th
Winners will advance to the final four on November 14th at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, WA.
Tacoma at Clark
After falling behind 1-0 to Edmonds in the 1st round game, Tacoma responded late in the second half with a barrage of offense, scoring in the 80th, 81st, and 84th minute to advance to the quarter finals. The Titan attack continues to come from all over the field with 10 players scoring 3 or more goals this season, and 5 players with 3 or more assists. Clark enters the tournament as the #1 seed from the South for the 4th year in a row. While goals for the Penguins this season have not necessarily come in waves averaging just 1.8 per game, their defense ranks among the best in the NWAC with 9 recorded shutouts and only 16 goals allowed.
Whatcom at Spokane
Whatcom advanced to the 2nd round for the 3rd consecutive year after Wednesdays nail biter against Bellevue. A goal from Uriel Herrera in the 52nd minute and a 7 save performance from goalkeeper Manuel Mendez helped to seal the win. Spokane is the #1 seed from the East for the first time since 2007 and after missing the playoffs last year, this year’s team is loaded with talented freshman. The top 3 goal scorers for the Sasquatch are all freshman. Jonathan Cortez out of Moses Lake, has recorded 15 goals this season (1st in the NWAC) and teammates Breno Rocha and Eric Sanchez-Flores have added 8 and 7 respectively. It will be youth versus experience in this match up as Whatcom returns 9 sophomores off of last year’s playoff team. For added drama, Spokane defeated Whatcom 2-1 back on August 29th at the NWAC Friendlies.
Chemeketa at Highline
Chemeketa’s 7 year playoff run experience was enough to outlast Columbia Basin 2-1. Igor Hubenya and Eric Garibay both recorded their 3rd goals of the season, and goalkeeper Leonardo Monrroy’s 3 big saves sealed the win. Highline enters the playoffs as the defending 2014 champions and the #1 seed from the West. The Thunderbirds boast a league best defense of 10 goals allowed and 8 shutouts. Goalkeeper Grayson Raffensperger has an 80% Save Rate. Offensively, Namibia national Jandjamuje Maharero leads the team in 11 goals scored, and Isidro Prado-Huerta leads the NWAC in assists (11). Something will have to give this Saturday, as both teams have the longest active win streaks Chemeketa (7) and Highline (8).
Walla Walla at Peninsula
Peninsula and Walla Walla last met on Aug. 29th at the NWAC Friendlies where the match ended in a 0-0 draw. There will be no draws this Saturday, one of these two teams will advance. Walla Walla is coming off of a solid 2-0 performance over Southwestern Oregon in the 1st round of the playoffs, redeeming last year’s early exit loss in PK’s. The Warriors have one of the most experienced teams in the tournament with 14 sophomores, but it’s freshman Emilio Meraz-Redriguez (9 goals, 8 assists) that leads the team in points with 26 (4th in the NWAC). Peninsula is a bona-fide powerhouse, winners of 3 championships in the last 5 years and this year looks to be no exception with a prolific offense (47 total goals) and a stout defense (18 goals allowed, 9 shutouts). Jonathan Martinez leads the way with 12 goals and Keo Ponce adds 11 of his own.