By John William Howard, NWAACC.org
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.
Before getting their second draw of the year with Walla Walla University (non-league), Chemeketa had just finished off a successful week, outscoring their two opponents by a combined score of 14-1. This week, they visit 0-11-1 S. Puget Sound, which looks to be another blowout. After a lackluster kickoff to their season, the 2011 champions have come roaring back, and with a top eight match up in teams above them, Chemeketa could jump one or more spots in next week's rankings.
Men's Matches of the Week:
Oct. 10th - No. 6 Tacoma at No. 4 Highline
This pivotal match pits the No. 2 and No. 3 teams from the NWAACC west against one another, with just one game in the win column separating the two. A win from Tacoma would tie up the two teams at 12 points each, and because it doesn't look like either team will be able to catch Peninsula in playoff position (6-0-0, 18 points West), the difference between a six point lead and a tie in the standings is a huge difference. For Tacoma, they face No. 3 Walla Walla next week, adding to the pressure for this game. Should they win, second place in the West is within their grasp. If they drop the game against Highline, that No. 2 spot begins to slip away.
In another important match as far as playoff position is concerned, whichever team wins this game will take the lead in points in the NWAACC North. For now, Edmonds holds a slight edge with 16 points, while Whatcom is in a close second with 15, but Everett is close on their heels with 13 points. That means that should Edmonds fall this afternoon, they could possibly find themselves in a tie for second place facing a tough game against No. 2 Clark on Oct. 13th. Whatcom's schedule flattens out somewhat, as they won't face another top ranked team until they visit Edmonds on Halloween, making today's match extremely important for Edmonds to maintain a lead in the region.
* * *
Ever since last week's rankings where Spokane was criticized for their lack of consistency in scoring, the Sasquatch have been on an offensive tear. They outscored Wenatchee Valley 13-0, and then Olympic College 5-0 a few days later. If Spokane can keep up that kind of performance against No. 5 Bellevue, they make make an appearance in the top two next week.
Women's Matches of the Week:
Oct. 10th - Olympic at No. 1 Peninsula
Last week, the mighty Peninsula Pirates finally tasted defeat, and not just defeat, but a frustrating 1-0 loss to Walla Walla in their first shutout of the year. And for a team that has been scoring an average of over 5 goals a match, a shutout is the next thing to the sky falling. Now, Peninsula gets their first chance at redemption, taking the field for the first time since their first loss. They could go two different ways from this point. Either they use the loss to the Warriors as a stepping stone and get back to creaming people, or they could get caught up in the loss and let it turn in to two or three. This first game against Olympic (1-4-3 West) won't be a huge test, but it will be good to see what Peninsula does following a loss.
Oct. 13th - No. 3 Clackamas at Everett
Like Peninsula, Clackamas is also coming off a loss, this time to No. 2 Whatcom. While Whatcom was ranked slightly ahead of Clackamas, the Cougars were badly outplayed in their 3-0 home loss to the Orcas on Oct. 5th, letting in an easy goal in the 6th minute and not exerting the same pressure that they had during other games this season. Clackamas plays only one game this week, meaning that if they don't bounce back and take care of Everett, they could lose their spot at the top of the South to Lane, who plays twice. The road game against Everett shouldn't be overlooked, either. While Everett didn't make last week's rankings, they did get enough points from the coaches to garner a No. 8 ranking in the polls and they sit just three points behind No. 2 Whatcom for the lead in the North.
The next set of JOWARD Power Rankings will be out on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 17. Look for them on twitter or facebook.