Oct 17, 2012

Peninsula men still No. 1 as playoffs loom


These rankings 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's Soccer


The playoffs are now on the horizon, and teams are on the final stretch. Peninsula, Walla Walla, and Clark look untouchable in their respective regions (West, East, South), but the Northern has yet to  be won. With the exception of the South where Chemeketa maintains a wide margin, the battle for second place is wide open, especially in the East, where there are three teams within one point of one another. These next two weeks will be crucial for playoff positioning.  As these rankings and insight are only released every other week, be sure to look for The Week Ahead (view: last week, this week), a weekly preview of matches with a few tasty tidbits mixed in. Here are a few quick and easy factoids to get you caught up:

Soaring team of the week: Spokane - Last time's Freefall team, four consecutive league wins.
Freefall team of the week: Tacoma (1-2-1) 

Score of the week: Clark 10, SW Oregon 0
Bore of the week: S. Puget Sound vs. Shoreline (Two winless squads)

One or Two Win Club: The OTWC welcomed a new member in S. Puget sound with a 3-1 shellacking of winless Shoreline. They now join Bellevue, SW Oregon, and Wenatchee Valley.

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

                                                                                                                         
1. Peninsula (15-1-0) (8-0-0 West)
No. 1 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 1, No. 1 coaches

Peninsula extended their perfect run to 13 games this week. 13 matches with no losses, and no draws. In fact, you'd have to go to last season to find a game in which they lost to NWAACC competition, their only blemish this year being a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Wyoming. Add to that their measly seven goals allowed all season and a league leading 10 shutouts, and oh yeah, their league leading 67 scores. Peninsula is downright scary, and as they're the only squad to have been perfect through league play, teams won't exactly be lining up to face the Pirates when the tournament rolls around in a month's time.


                                                                                                                         
2. Clark (11-1-2) (8-0-1 South)
No. 2 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 2, No. 2 coaches

Clark's scoring machine, Borce Atanasov, has now jumped in front to lead the NWAACC with 22 goals in the Penguin's 15 matches. Some of that is because of the beat down against SW Oregon on October 10th during which he scored five times, but that aside, Atanasov and his compatriots have scored in bunches all season. So far, they've put up 57 goals - an easy, breezy second place ahead of Walla Walla's 40. However, Clark faces a massive challenge this week: they travel to face No. 4 Chemeketa on October 17th, a team that has been surging and is the last remaining legitimate challenger for the Southern Region title. Win that match, and Clark all but guarantees themselves the first place finish.

                                                                                                                         
3. Walla Walla (10-1-2) (5-1-2 East)
No. 3 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 3, No. 3 coaches

Walla Walla has had a tough, tough schedule of late. According to the previous set of rankings, the Warriors faced No. 5 Columbia Basin, No. 1 Peninsula and No. 6 Tacoma in a two week period. The fact that they walked away with a pair of wins doesn't hide the 4-1 loss to Peninsula, but few teams (if any) could have done much  better. They have another match up with CBC looming, but Walla Walla will play Wenatchee Valley (0-5-1 East) twice. The East isn't in the bag for the Warriors quite yet, but it's on the horizon. 

                                                                                                                         

4. Chemeketa (6-3-5) (6-2-0 South)
No. 4 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 7, No. 5 coaches

Disregarding the draw with Willamette University, Chemeketa has now won six of their last eight. In fact, they haven't lost to an NWAACC team since falling to Columbia Basin on September 1st, an unbeaten run that includes a draw with No. 2 Clark and a 5-1 victory over No. 5 Edmonds. However, Chemeketa's list of impressive opponents that they've prevailed over isn't long. The games against Clark and Edmonds are the ones that Chemeketa can glean the most pride from. They're supposed to blow out teams like S. Puget Sound, Shoreline and SW Oregon, which they did. Those victories are important, as they've helped the Storm stay close with Clark in the South, but a Southern Region title will be out of reach with a loss to the No. 2 Penguins on October 17th. 
                                                                                                                         

5. Edmonds (7-6-2) (6-2-1 North)
No. 6 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 8, No. 6 coaches

For the last two months, the Tritons of Edmonds were doing rather well. They hadn't lost in seven matches, allowing only one goal and asserting their position atop the NWAACC North. Things were going swimmingly until the wheels came off on October 14th against No. 2 Clark. The recently stingy Triton defense gave up four goals to the high scoring Clark, their worst since falling to No. 4 Chemeketa over a month ago. Lucky for Edmonds, their biggest challenge ahead of them will be Everett, who sits only three points behind in the standings but has a negative goal differential on the season. 
                                                                                                                        


6. Treasure Valley (3-3-4) (3-2-3 East)
NR  Coaches
Previous ranking: NR, No. 8 (tie) coaches

If not for a forfeit in their game against Olympic, Treasure Valley could very well be sitting in second place in the NWAACC East behind Walla Walla. In fact, by the end of the day on October 17th, they just might be, as the difference between second and fourth is just one point. TVCC's last four games have been impressive: including a draw with then No. 5 Columbia Basin and wins over No. 8 Tacoma, No. 4 Highline and Wenatchee Valley. Treasure Valley hasn't been all that impressive on offense (16 goals in 15 matches) but as they have more draws than any other team in the league, you get the feeling that if they can break out of their slump just a little, they'd be right on Walla Walla's tail for the Eastern title. 


                                                                                                                         

7. Spokane (6-5-1) (4-4-0 East)
No. 9 Coaches
Previous ranking: NR, NR coaches

After going through a rough couple of weeks and falling out of the rankings, Spokane is back. Not quite with a vengeance, but back all the same. After an embarrassing 7-0 trouncing from No. 1 Peninsula, the Sasquatch have reeled off four consecutive wins, accounting for all 12 of their points in league play. and while three of those wins came against teams with combined records of 6-22-4, they did also knock off then No. 5 Columbia Basin and have only allowed two goals through those four games. Spokane is definitely one of the three horses in the race for second place in the East, and if they continue on their current streak, it will be hard to keep them out. 

                                                                                                                         

8 (tie). Columbia Basin (7-5-2) (4-4-1 East)
No. 7 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 5, No. 6 coaches

Columbia Basin's fall in the rankings was a difficult choice to make, but ultimately was a product of the success of teams around them, and that their loss to Spokane was more of a surprise than the trip ups of the other ranked squads. It is also a product of the fact that the Hawks haven't won a game in their own region for some time. Recently, they've lost to Spokane and Walla Walla, and drawn with Treasure Valley, three games that were of upmost importance in the race for the playoffs in the tightly contested NWAACC East. They still sit in second place, but only by a narrow margin. 

                                                                                                                         


8 (tie). Highline (7-5-2) (4-3-1 West)
No. 5 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 4, No. 4 coaches

Highline has had a difficult time lately. After falling 1-0 to No. 3 Walla Walla, they seemed to bounce back with a feel-good 4-1 victory over Bellevue. However, just a few days later, things started to sour again, and Highline drew with then No. 6 Tacoma. From there, things got a little darker with a 2-1 loss to an unranked (but now No. 6) Treasure Valley squad, and it doesn't get much better looking forward. They have a week off before visiting No. 1 Peninsula, meaning that should Tacoma get a likely win at Olympic, the game between Tacoma and Highline could end up being for an all-important second place in the Western Region. 


                                                                                                                         
Teams added: Treasure Valley, Spokane
Teams dropped: Tacoma

3 comments:

  1. My picks for women Oct 17:
    1. Peninsula
    2. Spokane
    3. Walla Walla
    4. Whatcom
    5. Clackamas
    6. Shoreline
    7. Bellevue
    8. Lane

    Swish

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tcc men lost to #1, #3, and tied highline how are they out of the poll??

    ReplyDelete
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