The Gig Harbor High girls soccer team is in full rebuilding mode, after they had to say goodbye to 15 seniors. Last year’s team finished 13-0-1 in league, and the seniors had been the core of the team for the previous two years, taking the Tides to state for two consecutive seasons. Head coach Dani States said she isn’t expecting a certain number of wins, but rather expects the team to become a cohesive unit this year.
“This year, just because it’s such a new group, such a young group, you gotta kind of take it day by day,” States said. “They have to learn how to play together, because they’ve never played together. Just kind of growing that camaraderie with one another, which we’ve been doing every single day, and just being able to play off one another.”
The Tides lost a lot of talent, but retain several key players from last season, including senior center defender Deionne Skusek, and senior forward/midfielder Kailyn Tovey. Skusek and Tovey agreed that the team will need to learn how to play well together.
“Since we’re a brand new team, just connecting and talking a lot is going to be our goal, and putting balls in the back of the net,” Skusek said.
Tovey said despite the losses, the team has young talent that she’s optimistic about.
“We have some good incoming freshmen and sophomores who I think are going to help us a lot,” Tovey said. “We just have to work on being a team and finding out how we play.”
States is excited to see how the young players will perform in actual games.
“They’re just fresh,” States said. “They’re eager, and very hungry. It’s just a matter of channeling it. So many are new to the Varsity experience, and it can be very intimidating. But they’re very eager and excited, and when you’re young, you really can do a lot of good things with that. So, I think the focus a lot for me is just to get that maturity and confidence and calmness in them.”
The team may not have a ton of in-game experience, but their fitness level shouldn’t be an issue by the time the season rolls around.
“We’ve been working a lot on our fitness every day in practice, so we’re hoping to be fitter than the other team,” Tovey said. “We have a lot of speed.”
The Tides open the season with a home exhibition game against Timberline High School on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.
Although the game doesn’t count toward the record, States said it will give her a chance to see what the team can do in a game situation, and will give the players a chance to begin learning how to play together effectively.
“I don’t really process preseason games, but they’re just another element of practice for us to prep for the real deal, so that’s just going to be another way to fine tune and give them a true, good look of a game,” States said. “It’s really for them. They’ve been practicing and practicing, it gets monotonous, the game is really going to tell them where they’re at.”