The Pierce College men’s soccer team has been battling for better results this season.
The Raiders are third in the NWAACC South Division, nine points out of first place behind rivals Clark College and Chemeketa Community College.
“This is a good group of guys,” Head Coach Bill Pearson said. “I think sometimes they just need to dig down and want it more than the other team.”
Pierce struggled to begin the season with the first two games resulting in 1-1 draws against Skagit Valley and Edmonds community colleges.
Next, the Raiders traveled to compete in the Spokane Friendly Tournament where they suffered a 5-0 loss to Spokane but bounced back to thrash Everett 5-1.
A 3-0 shutout win against Highline Community College lifted the Raiders’ record to 2-1-2.
Pierce lost its next game against Tacoma and a red card received by Pierce forward Femi Akinniyi resulted in his ejection and subsequent suspension from the next game against Peninsula College.
His absence would be missed as Peninsula racked up four first half goals on its way to victory. Pierce did not allow any goals in the second half but couldn’t manage to score.
“It’s hard to come back from four to nothing,” Head Coach Bill Pearson said
Pierce then blasted divisional rival SW Oregon 4-2 at home in a physical match.
Akinniyi and Pierce forward Jeremy Maldonado kept their composure after some pretty rough fouls.
“You gotta play on and just let it go,” Akinniyi said.
“It just keeps us up to our level of game,” Maldonado said. “We can’t bring it down to them.”
Maldonado started and finished it for Pierce scoring one goal 10 minutes in and adding another goal late to put the match away.
Akinniyi shined in his return to the lineup, scoring two goals and recording one assist.
“It feels good to contribute to the team,”Akinniyi said.
Suku Hudson, Omar Lima-Ramos and Rafi Azami also recorded assists.
The Raiders then traveled to Bellevue College and were defeated 3-1.
Pierce led 1-0 late in the second half when Bellevue struck back, scoring three unanswered goals in the final eight minutes to get the win at home.
Akinniyi continued to make his presence felt scoring the opening goal 11 minutes into the match on an assist from Maldonado.
Pierce recently hosted Olympic College in a gritty, rain-soaked match. Hudson and Maldonado scored in a second half rally to give the Raiders the 2-2 tie.
Pierce will control its fate with upcoming matches against South Division rivals Chemeketa, Clark, South Puget Sound and Southwestern Oregon.
“I think we have great players,” Pearson said. “We’re not playing as a unit yet. That’s when we’ll have our identity; when we become a team.”
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