Peninsula captures fourth NWAC title in a thriller 4-3
|Tournament MVP Keo Ponce (14) takes a shot at the Spokane goal. Ponce tallied two goals and an assist in Peninsula's 4-3 victory.|
Photos by Rick Harrison
TUKWILA, WA -- On a cold, clear night at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila the Peninsula Pirates Men's Soccer team won their 4th NWAC championship in six years.
The 2015 championship game started off with a bang, as the NWAC's leading goal scorer Jonathan Cortez put Spokane up 1-0 in the 1st minute of the match.
Just 2 minutes later, Peninsula answered with a brilliant header from Keo Ponce.
Peninsula scored the next two goals (31st & 53rd minute) to go up 3-1, but the Sasquatch would not go away. Kazuki Tateishi scored from just beyond the 18 with a brilliant strike in the 55th minute in what could be considered the best goal of the tournament.
In the 76th minute things became even more interesting when Eric Sanchez-Flores from Spokane chipped in a shot over the goal keepers head. In a diving attempt to stop the goal, a Peninsula defender tried to head the ball clear but instead found the upper left corner of the back of the net to help Spokane get back into the match with 3 goals apiece.
The punctuation mark came with 4 minutes to go in regulation when Jose Soto sealed the game to put the Pirates up for good at 4-3.
Peninsula's Keo Ponce was named MVP while teammate Jonathan Martinez was named Most Inspirational.
Spokane finished the season as the Eastern Region Champions, an overall record of 13-5-4, and a 2nd place NWAC finish. This was Spokane's first final four appearance since 2009.
The Pirates continued their dynasty this season, winning the Northern Region by 7 points, finishing with an overall record of 16-3-3, and crowning themselves as the 2015 NWAC champions.