College Corner

Walla Walla men edge Highline in hard fought finish

Welcome to College Corner, a portion of the Sports section dedicated to our athletes competing in college sports or club sports or similar activities after their high school graduations. This, hopefully, will be updated often and will rely, not only on my limited knowledge of where young athletes have gone, but also on our community to share information on their kids, friends, relatives, and team members who have ventured away from the Crimson Bears red and black and Falcons silver and blue. Nothing is more gratifying than learning of the achievements, accomplishments, or ambitions of our youth. Please share, and please enjoy.

 

JDHS alum Max Smith in the finals

TUKWILA, Wash. - A tight contest right up to the finish, Walla Walla came out ahead after a wild final few minutes to beat out Highline by a score of 3-2 for a trip to the NWAACC Championship game on Sunday. From the opening kickoff, both teams played physical. Walla Walla, the champion from the East, was looking for their first trip to the finals since 2009, while Highline looked to keep their fantastic run alive after knocking off second-ranked Clark in the quarterfinals.

Things were scoreless fir the first 20 minutes, with both teams narrowly missing chances. That changed in the 27th, when Highline’s Kyle Danielson sent a corner into the box and connected with freshman forward Cole Madden, who headed the ball into the net to break the scoreless tie.

Walla Walla would draw even 15 minutes later. The Warriors won a corner, and after taking a bounce, the ball found found Max Smith, who sent the ball into the back of the net to bring the score to 1-1 in the 42nd minute.

Still tied at halftime, Walla Walla finally broke away and took a lead in the 57th minute. The Warriors won a corner that was origonally cleared by Highline, but sent back towards the goal, forcing HCC keeper Nick Rosato to rise above the WWCC forwards to nab the ball. The ball was cleared, but on the ensuing counter, Walla Walla’s Johnathan Rodriguez found space in the center of the box and blasted a shot past Rosato to make the score 2-1.

Rough play continued to elevate as the half went on. John Monroy struck gold from the middle of the 18 yard box to tie things up at 2 in the 65th minute, and things finally reached a peak ten minutes later.

Highline keeper Nick Rosato was cautioned for language in the 74th minute, starting a string of cards in the 74th, 76th and 78th minutes for Highline. Seven minutes later, Walla Walla struck again.

A hard challenge from Highline gave Walla Walla a free kick on the attacking side of midfield. Jhony Mendosa sent the kick high and bounced past the outstretched hands of Rosato and into the goal.

Mendosa’s goal would prove to be the final nail in the coffin for Highline. After a few final frantic minutes of play, the whistle sounded, ending Highline’s run and catapulting Walla Walla into Sunday’s NWAACC Championship game.

Shots: Walla Walla 7, Highline 7. Players of the Match: Johnathan Rodriguez (Walla Walla) 1 goal, 3 shots. Nick Rosato (Highline) 6 saves.

JDHS alum Aubrey Briscoe in finals

TUKWILA, Wash. - Briana Afoa scored a pair of goals, one in each half, to push the Peninsula Pirates past the Everett Trojans by a final score of 3-1 for a trip to the NWAACC Championship game for the second year in a row.

Things were rough from the start, with physical play from both teams. Peninsula finally gained traction in the 17th minute when one of the Everett defenders committed a foul inside the 18 yard box. Afoa stepped up to the ball and delivered a rocket to the upper right corner and past the Everett goalkeeper for the first score of the semifinal match.

Throughout the first half, Everett’s sparse attacking opportunities were spaced apart by long periods of scrambling to keep up with the powerful Peninsula offense. In the 40th minute, the Pirates won a free kick 40 yards from the goal. Afoa’s strike sailed over the wall, and into the waiting mitts of Everett keeper Nicole Alvarez. Everett held tight for the remainder of the half, trailing 1-nil after 45 minutes of play.

The second half started out with a bang. One minute in, Frizzelle lined up to take a corner, and bent the ball all the way into the net to give Peninsula a 2-0 advantage in the 46th minute. Eleven minutes later after Peninsula drove down the field on a counter, Afoa took a pass from Peninsula’s Ashlyn Crossah just outside the goalbox. Afoa turned on a dime and blasted the ball into the right corner for her second score, putting Peninsula up 3-nil.

Even at that point, Everett wasn’t done. Trailing by three goals and with just under ten minutes to play, Peninsula began to sub in for their starters. That’s when Everett turned up the pressure, mounting a series of attacks and forcing Pirate goalkeeper Denae Brooks to make a number of fantastic saves.

In the 78th minute, Everett finally caught a break. The Trojan’s won a free kick, which midfielder Lisa Echert blasted over the wall and into the Brooks’ hands. Or so everyone thought. At the last second, the ball jumped back onto the turf and on to the boot of Everett’s Christina Jarvis, who sent it into the back of the net to put Everett on the board.

That was the last gas for Everett, who couldn’t keep up in the final minutes, and heard the three whistles that signaled the end of their run. Peninsula, with their 3-1 victory will move on to face Spokane on Sunday for the NWAACC title.

“You can’t explain [how this feels],” said Afoa after the win. “It’s irreplaceable.”

Shots: Peninsula 5, Everett 4. Players of the Match: Briana Afoa (Peninsula) 2 goals. Christina Jarvis (Everett) 1 goal, two shots.

Aubrey Briscoe gets nod

Peninsula head coaches Kanyon Anderson and Andrew Chapman were each named West Division Coach of the Year, Briana Afoa and Daniel Gonzalez were named West Division Player of the Year and 11 of their teammates earned West Division All-Star honors, as announced Sunday by the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.

Anderson, in his third year as the women’s head coach, repeats as West Division Coach of the Year, while Chapman, in his 10th year at the helm of the men’s program, won the award for the fourth time. Chapman shares the award this year with Tacoma’s Jason Gjertsen.

Afoa, a freshman out of Hawaii, broke Peninsula’s single season scoring record with 21 goals thus far and currently ranks second in the NWAACC in scoring. Afoa follows Jackie Rodgers as the second straight year a Pirate was named the West MVP.

Gonzalez, a sophomore out of Yelm, also ranks among the NWAACC’s top goal scorers and assist leaders. He follows Steve Prevost (2009) and his older brother Miguel Gonzalez (2010, 2011) as the fourth straight Pirate to win the MVP award.

Also earning recognition as West Division All-Stars from the women’s team are Jordan Dinneen, a sophomore midfielder from Anchorage, Alaska; Deidra Woodward, a sophomore midfielder from Olympia; Kendra Miner, a sophomore mid from Wasilla, Alaska; and Aubrey Briscoe, a sophomore defender from Juneau, Alaska.

West Division All-Stars for the men, in addition to Gonzalez, are: Alex Martinez, a freshman forward from Reno, Nevada; Henrique Noujeimi, a freshman forward from Belo Horizonte, Brazile; Irvin Somera, a freshman midfielder from Reno; Erick Urzua, a freshman midfielder from Portland; Aaron Jeffery, a sophomore defender from Safety Bay, Australia; Morgan Lemus, a sophomore defender from Reno; and Guilherme Avelar, a sophomore keeper from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Their record speaks for itself, but coach Anderson and coach Chapman have done an excellent job building their respective programs and are very deserving of this honor,” said Athletic Director Rick Ross. “And while we have 13 players earning West All-Star recognition, which is amazing and very deserving, we really have about 65 players and eight coaches who are ultimately responsible for our success. We’re the only college with both teams in the Final Four this year and these two teams have as good a chance as anyone of winning it all.”

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