2016 NWAC Soccer Championship Preview
November 11 at 2:30pm
Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA
North #1 Peninsula vs West #1 Highline
In the first semi-final match of the day Peninsula College flexed their #1 overall ranked muscles to win in convincing fashion over the North Idaho Cardinals. Sophomore forward, Bri Vallente scored her 5th and 6th goals of the season to propel the Pirates to the 3-1 victory and their 5th trip to the championship game in the last 6 years.
Prior to Friday afternoon’s Semi-Final match, Highline had been on the losing end of the last two matches between the Thunderbirds and the Sasquatch. Last year, Spokane defeated Highline in the Championship match 2-0, and again defeated Highline 2-0 in the first match of the 2016 campaign. Despite a constant barrage of on target shots by both Spokane and Highline, a loan goal from Highline freshman Madasin Jennings in the 35th minute would be the difference maker and enough to secure the 1-0 victory for Highline.
Back in August, Highline defeated Peninsula 2-1 a game in which Highline All-Star Goalkeeper Rachel Thompson recorded 15 saves and current leading Highline goal scorer Chentay Warnes recorded her first goal of the season. Bri Vallente scored the lone goal for Peninsula and All-Star Goalkeeper Akari Hoshino had 4 saves. Last year Highline defeated Peninsula in the Semi-Finals, again with a final score of 2-1, but this will be the first time that the two programs will have met in the Championship game.
November 11 at 5:15pm
Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA
East #1 Spokane vs West #2 Tacoma
Spokane extended their win streak to 9 games on Friday, with their 2-1 defeat over Highline and returns to the championship match for the 2nd straight season. The Sasquatch all but punched their ticket with a goal in the 86th minute by freshman Hector Magana to take a 2-0 lead. Highline scored just a minute later, but the Spokane defense held strong to finish the match.
Facing regional rival Pierce for the 4th time this season, the Titans were in a battle from start to finish. After seeing a 1-0 halftime lead disappear with a Pierce goal in the 64th minute, Sophomore Tanner Allison scored his second goal of the match in the 89th minute and the Titans went on to win with a final score of 3-1. Tacoma is the first regional #2 seed to reach the championship game since Bellevue accomplished the feat in 2006.
The 2016 championship game is perfect example of how far sophomore leadership can take a team. Spokane (14) and Tacoma (12) have the most sophomores on the roster of any team that was in the tournament. Spokane’s offensive firepower (51 goals this season) will be tested by one of the top Goalkeepers in the NWAC in Sophomore All-Star Evan Munn. Munn has an 80.9 SV% (2nd best in the NWAC) and amazing NWAC playoff career record of 3-1 in penalty kick shootouts. The one loss came last season, when the Sasquatch eliminated the Titans in the semi-finals 4-2 in PK’s.