BELLINGHAM – Two Northwest college soccer powerhouses, the 2016 national champion Western Washington University Vikings, and the 2016 Northwest Athletic Conference champion Peninsula Pirates, met for a spring scrimmage at Harrington Field Sunday where the Pirates did something few teams have done in recent years - they beat the Vikes.
Western is one of the top NCAA Division II women’s soccer teams in the country. They won a national title in 2016 and in the process, put together a two-year, 39-game winning streak, the fourth longest win streak in NCAA Division II history. It ended in October, but the Vikings went on to a sixth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pirates, meanwhile, went unbeaten this past fall, before falling in overtime in the NWAC championship match in November. They were ranked No. 4 in the nation among junior colleges at the time.
“It was an honor that Western invited Kanyon and his team up for a friendly,” said Rick Ross, Associate Dean for Athletics and Student Life. “It speaks to how highly regarded our soccer program has become. To be fair, it wasn’t a regular season match and the Vikings beat the University of British Columbia 2-1 in a scrimmage that preceded our match on Sunday afternoon, but they have a large and talented roster (30 players) and it was a great test for our Pirates.”
Peninsula sophomore Malia Brudvik of Auburn opened the scoring when she squared up on a ball that was 30 yards out and blasted it threw the outstretched hands of WWU goal keeper Hillary O’Connor of Los Angeles, and just under the crossbar for a 1-0 Pirate lead just 10 minutes into the match.
The Pirates then went up 2-0 with 26 minutes remaining in the first half. Janis Martinez-Ortiz put a corner kick on goal, the ball was knocked away by O’Connor, but Pirate Samantha Guzman, a red-shirt freshman from Corona, California, went high in the air to boot it past three Viking defenders and into the WWU net.
Western’s best opportunity to score came with a minute to play in the first half when Talia Daigle, a freshman from Edmonds, slipped into the left side of the box and took a shot at close range, but Peninsula’s freshman keeper Kassidy Zinda laid out for the ball and knocked it wide to preserve the shutout.
The two teams played scoreless through a chilly second half under the lights at Harrington Field and the Pirates emerged with a 2-0 victory.
Head coach Kanyon Anderson and his staff were not only pleased with the opportunity to scrimmage the Vikings, but they were happy with the outcome.
“Western had more possession and we had to stay patient and organized in defense which we did,” Anderson said. “That is not something we get to practice often during the season, so to play a completely different style successfully says a lot about this group's maturity.”
Anderson also praised the play of his defense, who helped Zinda earn the shutout.
“Our defenders were great. Sam Guzman and Halle Watson kept us organized, Mailia Brudvik, Emelie Small and Pi'ilani Chaves were great at the outside back, and Sarah Reiber covered a lot of ground and made big plays all game at defensive midfield,” he said.
“Shantel Torres-Benito had her best game as a Pirate and was key to our success,” he added. Torres-Benito, along with Maddy Parton, Taylor Graham and Jordyn DiCintio, put pressure on the Viking back line the entire night.
Pirate fans will have one more opportunity to see this team when Peninsula hosts the Seattle Stars and Western Oregon University at the Rumble in the Rainforest on April 28 at Sigmar Field on the Peninsula College campus.