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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 dropped: Bellevue