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.
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.
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.