Sep 25, 2012

NWAACC Soccer Week 5 Preview

By John William Howard,

These previews are the opinion of just one man, and do not reflect the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges or any of their sponsors. If you have a question or comment on this or any story for John Howard, send him an email , contact him via twitter , or leave a comment below. 

NWAACC Men: With all the hoopla surrounding top ranked Walla Walla and Peninsula, it can be a little too easy to forget about Clark. Following a 1-1 draw with defending champion Chemeketa, they flattened Shoreline and will face a winless S. Puget Sound squad before facing off with No. 6 Whatcom on September 29th. If Clark takes care of Whatcom, which they should, it will be difficult to keep Clark out of the top two.

Men's Matches of the Week:

Sept. 29th - No. 1 Walla Walla at No. 4 Highline

So far, Highline has seen their fair share of difficult opponents. In matches with No. 3 Clark, No. 7 Spokane and No. 6 Whatcom, Highline emerged 2-0-1. However, Walla Walla is a whole new breed of beast. They've outscored their opponents 29-7 so far and have kept four clean sheets. Despite their recent tear, Walla Walla has gone 1-0-2 in their league so far. Their hold on the NWAACC East has slipped, and they now find themselves tied for second with Treasure Valley. This top five match could do a lot to say whether Walla Walla will remain in their position as No. 1, and because No. 5 Columbia Basin (5-3-1, 2-2-0 East) plays only one more game this week, the Warriors will have a chance to leapfrog for the lead with at least a win and a draw.

Sept. 29th - No. 7 Spokane at No. 2 Peninsula

Peninsula has been all but unstoppable in the past few weeks, a run that included victories over two teams ranked in the top five. They now lead the league in goals scored, shutouts and fewest goals against, all by a decent margin. Because of their offensive proficiency, it's nearly impossible to keep them out of the back of the net, and scores against the Pirates are extremely hard to come by, so Spokane has their work cut out for them. Anything but a loss nearly guarantees Peninsula the No. 1 spot in a week's time.

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NWAACC Women: Expect to see a surge from Clackamas, who reeled off several impressive wins last week including a dominant 2-0 victory over No. 2 Lane. The Cougars won't face much this week, as they will be playing at SW Oregon (0-5-0, 1-28 Goal differential) and hosting Skagit Valley (2-3-3, 1-1-2 North). It's not over till it's over, but Clackamas shouldn't have a lot of trouble and will most likely find themselves at 6-2-0 next week.

Women's Matches of the Week:

Sept. 26th - No. 8 Walla Walla at No. 3 Spokane

For the first time in recent memory, Walla Walla is something other than perfect. The three time defending champion Warriors now have two losses on the season, their worst start in years. A third would most likely knock them from the rankings, the first time in a long time that Walla Walla wasn't one of the first teams mentioned when it comes to NWAACC women's soccer. That's a lot of pressure, and their opponent only adds to that weight. The team their facing, Spokane, has allowed the least amount of goals of any team in the league at two. Just two goals over a span of six games. Walla Walla will have a hard time with this one, but they have a legacy to defend.

Sept. 29th - No. 3 Spokane at No. 1 Peninsula

Shortly after their match against an unusually struggling (4-2-0 is "struggling" for Walla Walla) Warrior team, Spokane has to turn around and use their defensive prowess against easily the strongest offensive team in the NWAACC. Peninsula's 52 goals this season in nine games blows their nearest competitor out of the water and on to dry, dusty land with no moisture to speak of. It's safe to say that Spokane will likely have let a few more through by the time this one is done, but who knows if they will be able to score enough to keep up.

The next set of JOWARD Power Rankings will be out on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 3. Look for them on twitter or facebook.

Sep 19, 2012

Walla Walla No. 1 in NWAACC men's soccer

NWAACC Men's Soccer

As league play begins, things have begun to settle into a rhythm. Only four teams from the North-South conference have even or positive goal differentials, and only two have winning records. The East-West conference, however, boasts seven squads at even advantage or better.  Here are a few quick and easy tidbits to get you caught up:

Soaring team of the week: Peninsula (3-0-0) 15-0 Goal Advantage
Freefall team of the week: S. Puget Sount (0-4-0) 1-14 Goal Advantage

Score of the week: Walla Walla 6, Olympic 0
Bore of the week: Olympic 0, Wenatchee Valley 0

For news and notes on NWAACC soccer throughout the season, follow @JowardHoward on twitter or search #nwaaccsoccer. View the coaches rankings here.

1. Walla Walla (6-0-0) (1-0-0 East)
 No. 2 Coaches

One of the league's best both offensively and defensively, it's easy to see why Walla Walla might get strong consideration in the rankings, especially after their signature win over No. 3 Clark on Sept. 11th. Scoreless most of the first half, a goal by Ivan Chamorro with a minute remaining in the first period gave the Warriors a slim 1-0 lead, eventually handing Clark  their first loss of the young season. Other than a 1-0 victory over Chemeketa at the NWAACC friendlies, Walla Walla has blown out every other opponent, racking up 26 goals and four shutouts in six games. 

2. Peninsula (7-1-0) (2-0-0 West)
No. 1 Coaches

Peninsula's one loss came at the hands of Wyoming in a frustrating contest for the Pirates. Four cards, three yellow and one red, were handed out in the match, which ended in a 2-1 loss. Peninsula leads the league in goals scored (32) and clean sheets (5), and they walked away with an impressive 1-nil defeat of Columbia Basin on September 9th. In goal for the Pirates is Guilherme Avelar, who is tied for best in the league in total shutouts. Offensively brilliant and defensively solid, Peninsula is a tough opponent, but their next three NWAACC opponents are currently ranked 5th, 7th, 8th, and then they have a match against top ranked Walla Walla on October 6th, a huge game if ever there was one.

3. Clark (5-1-1) (2-0-0 South)
No. 4 Coaches

Clark is one of only two teams in the North-South conference to have a positive goal differential, and while their advantage is far and away the best of any of those teams (25 GF, 7 GA), they won't be facing very stiff competition in the regular season. That said, Clark's two dark marks are a 1-0 loss at home to No. 1 Walla Walla and a 3-3 draw with No. 5 Highline. Time will tell if Clark is worth their flashy ranking, and they will get another chance at their first victory over a ranked opponent when No. 6 Whatcom comes to Vancouver on September 29th. 


4. Highline (4-0-1) (1-0-0 West)
No. 3 Coaches

Highline has played more games against ranked opponents than not. Their record isn't bad, either. A 3-3 draw with No. 3 Clark, a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Spokane, and a 3-0 win against No. 6 Whatcom. Highline's 16 goals on the season isn't particularly flashy, as is their two shutouts, but they've done what they needed to do when the time came. However, things are about to get a lot more difficult in the next few weeks when they will have to face Peninsula, Columbia Basin and Walla Walla with only lowly Olympic to break up the insanity. In a short while, it'll be clear whether Highline deserves their place or not. 

5. Columbia Basin (4-2-1) (1-1-0 East)
No. 5 Coaches

Since losing to Peninsula is something that just about everybody does these days,  the Hawks shouldn't look too harshly at their 1-nil loss to the Pirates, but should instead focus on what in the world went wrong in the loss to Pierce (3-3-0, 1-1-0 South), a game in which Columbia Basin gave up five of their total nine goals on the season. Other than that stunner, Columbia Basin did come away with a good looking victory over No. 8 Tacoma, but the have an uphill climb if they hope to win a title: they still have two more games to play against No. 1 Walla Walla.

6. Whatcom (2-1-1) (2-0-0 North)
No. 8 Coaches

Leading the Northern Region sounds all well and good until you take a second look at the other squads in the division and realize that they hold a collective 33-85 goal disadvantage. That said, Whatcom has separated themselves from the Northern pack with a 10-6 goal advantage and one of only two teams above .500 in either the Northern or Southern Region. The biggest test facing Whatcom is the September 29th match with No. 3 Clark, a game that could make or break their place in the standings. 


7. Spokane (2-2-1) (0-1-0 East)
No. 7 Coaches

A team that looked extremely good in the early going, Spokane hasn't managed to put up many offensive numbers in their five games so far. They hold a slim goal advantage at 9-5 and have three shutouts, but seven of their nine goals came against Shoreline, who has given up 24 goals through five matches. If Spokane can't score, the best they can hope for is to beat out Columbia Basin for second place in the East or watch from the sidelines as their well-oiled Eastern Region foes stroll into the playoffs.

8. Tacoma (2-2-0) (0-1-0 West)
NR Coaches

As with just about every other team that has faced Shoreline, Tacoma walked away with something to pad their offensive stats after a 6-nil beat down. The Titans have performed well in most of their games, the only one that really shouldn't have slipped away was a close 3-2 loss to Pierce on the first day of the NWAACC friendlies. However, because Tacoma plays in a region with No. 2 Peninsula and No. 4 Highline, they will have to fight tooth and nail to get a spot in the post season.


Teams added: Whatcom
Teams dropped: Bellevue

Peninsula women No. 1 in NWAACC soccer rankings

NWAACC Women's Soccer
A few weeks into the thick of things, teams are beginning to make their marks on this young season. Three teams remain undefeated, and one, who will most likely scrape the bottom of their region's cellar, sits at a stubborn 0-4-0. Here are a few quick and easy tidbits to get you caught up:

Soaring team of the week: Peninsula (4-0-0) 27-2 Goal Advantage
Freefall team of the week: SW Oregon (0-2-0) 0-15 Goal Advantage

Score of the week: Peninsula 13, Skagit Valley 0
Bore of the week: Green River 0, Linfield JV 0

For news and notes on NWAACC soccer throughout the season, follow @JowardHoward on twitter or search #nwaaccsoccer. View the coaches rankings here.


1. Peninsula (7-0-0) (2-0-0 West)
 Preseason: No. 1
No. 1 Coaches

Peninsula has emerged as a strong leader as region play begins. They have yet to lose a game, and their 41-4 goal advantage is far and away the best in the league.  So proficient is their attack, that there are too many goal scorers to list. Peninsula put up five on both No. 5 Columbia Basin and North Idaho College, nine on Treasure Valley, and a whopping 13 on Skagit Valley. And Peninsula's talents go beyond getting balls in the back of the net, they also lead the league with four clean sheets, an effort spearheaded by goalkeepers Danae Brooks (3 shutouts) and Laura Morgan (1 shutout). On both ends of the pitch, the Pirates are a handful. Or a hookful... 


2. Lane (3-0-2) (2-0-0 South)
Preseason: No. 8
No. 4 Coaches

The way that Lane entered the party this season left some wondering if they knew that the point of the game was to score. However, after a goalless (scoreless draws with No. 3 Spokane and Highline) trip to the NWAACC friendlies, the Lane ladies put together several goals and remain one of three teams left undefeated in the league. Given, "several" means five, but two of those goals came in a win over No. 4 Whatcom for their first loss of the young season. If they keep things up defensively, (two goals scored in five matches, three shutouts) they will be incredibly difficult to score against.


3. Spokane (3-0-1) (2-0-0 East)
Preseason: No. 2
No. 3 Coaches

The last of the three undefeated teams, Spokane is tied for the fewest goals allowed so far this season. They don't put a lot of points on the board, but stellar goalkeeping from Asia Porter has kept all but one goal out through four games. The only other team that can claim that hails from just down the road in Walla Walla, 3-time NWAACC champion and Eastern Region foe.


4. Whatcom (3-1-0) (1-1-0 North)
Preseason: No. 4
No. 8 (tie) Coaches

It seems that everybody is padding their offensive numbers against SW Oregon these days. Whatcom is no different, walking off the pitch after 90 minutes with a 10-nil trouncing in hand, bringing their goal advantage to 17-1. Their next outing, however, was against No. 2 Lane, and their goalscorers were just about stifled in a 2-1 loss. That's not a loss that they should feel too badly about, as their one goal was the first by an NWAACC opponent that Lane has allowed all year long. 


5. Columbia Basin (3-1-0) (1-1-0 East)
Preseason: No. 3
NR Coaches

When you take into account that Columbia Basin's only loss was to No. 1 Peninsula and they held down a decent offensive team in Shoreline in a 2-1 loss, and the Hawks start to look fairly impressive. Somewhat overlooked because of Spokane's goalkeeping and Walla Walla's pedigree, make no mistake: Columbia Basin will challenge for the Eastern title this year. 


6. Shoreline (3-1-0) (2-0-0 North)
Preseason: No. 7
No. 6 Coaches

Shoreline is the latest team to engage in a drubbing of SW Oregon, flattening the Lakers 5-nil on a first half hat-trick from Angela Celedon. The Dolphin's offensive numbers are middle of the pack, but their defensive stats have a strange twist. They have three clean sheets, but have allowed the second highest total of goals through five games for a team with three shutouts. Their metal will be tested soon, as they are set to visit No. 4 Whatcom on September 26th.


7. Bellevue (4-1-0) (2-0-0 West)
Preseason: NR
No. 2 Coaches

Bellevue's 4-1 record is impressive, as is their 19 goals scored, good for second in the league behind Peninsula. Not as impressive are their seven goals allowed in five games and just one shutout. Now, while that sounds (and may very well be) ridiculous, they are the only team in the top eight to have less than two shutouts and have allowed as many goals as Whatcom, Lane, Walla Walla, and Spokane combined. Also, they have yet to face a respectable opponent, their best looking win being a 4-0 defeat of Clark. Luckily there seems to really only be two teams competing in the West.

8. Walla Walla (3-1-0) (2-0-0 East)
Preseason: NR
No. 2 Coaches

Walla Walla has experience a bit of a fall from grace this season.They've already lost for the first time since the 2009 season, and have mustered only 10 goals thus far while being shut out once. So far, it seems that Walla Walla's strangle hold on the NWAACC East has loosened, but there is still a lot of soccer to be played. 

Teams added: Bellevue, Walla Walla
Teams dropped: Clackamas, Highline