It’s been a few years since the majority of the Gig Harbor Tides soccer players have competed with one another. For most, the connection goes all the way back to youth club teams.
And despite the loss of 13 seniors to graduation last year, the Tides are getting out of the blocks quickly this season.
Gig Harbor picked up three more points in Class 4A Narrows League play on Thursday when the Tides (4-0-1 overall, 3-0-0 league, nine points) edged Olympia, 1-0. Three teams, including Olympia, are knotted in a second-place tie with four points.
Sophomore Jordan Bertram tallied the lone goal in the ninth minute, and the Tides’ defense, anchored by senior goalkeeper Aubrey Lindberg, blanked the Bears (1-1-1 league) at Gig Harbor High School.
“Olympia is always tough, good competition for us,” said Tides head coach Dani States, who added her team has been working on a triangle concept with a focus on possession and simplifying the game. “We were very patient when we had the ball, even in the midfield.”
Bertram’s score was set up when sophomore midfielder Joey Watermeyer started a run down the right sideline. Watermeyer’s shot to the far post went wide, but Bertram knocked home the rebound.
“I was just looking to keep the run going,” Bertram said. “That’s how we end up scoring.”
The Tides had to slow the game down, a different approach than when they beat Stadium 4-0 on Sept. 24. States said they had to respect the Bears’ size, so they kept the ball on the ground and limited opportunities for Olympia to win 50-50 balls through the air.
But that didn’t stop the Tides from pressuring the Bears with several scoring opportunities. Freshman Kaysie Bruce had a shot saved just minutes after Bertram’s goal, and her free kick in the 22nd minute sailed just high.
Junior Rachel Ross also lofted a free kick over the net midway through the first half, and freshman Micheala Binnig’s shot on goal was saved in the 27th minute.
Ross, a midfielder, went down with a sprained ankle just eight minutes before halftime, further depleting a Tides defense that already was without one of its starters due to an illness. Gig Harbor inserted sophomore Christie Kaldestad to play defender, and the sophomore didn’t disappoint.
“She’s a good, skilled player,” Watermeyer said of Kaldestad. “She was very composed.”
Olympia’s best chance came in the 62nd minute when a shot came from left to right toward the back side of the net, but Gig Harbor junior defender Sarah Hashman was there to protect the weak side and headed the ball away.
Six minutes later, the Bears put the pressure on again with a sliding shot across the field to the upper left corner, but Lindberg watched the ball sail wide.
One last chance came with seven minutes to play on an Olympia corner kick, although the opportunity slipped away when the Bears couldn’t finish a ball toward the far post.
Watermeyer pointed to the team’s youth but quickly added they’re used to playing against older players because most of the Tides played up an age group when they were in club soccer.
“In club, we always played up, and then we all went our separate ways,” she said. “Now everyone has been brought back together through high school soccer. It’s fun to know we can still compete with older players.”Editor and Publisher Brian McLean can be reached at 253-358-4150 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_brian.