The Gig Harbor Tides needed a late goal to keep a zero in the loss column against the visiting Bellarmine Lions last Thursday night.
The Tides (5-0-3 overall, 4-0-2 Narrows 4A) trailed 1-0 late into the second half before sophomore Elly Aronson delivered the equalizer in the 73rd minute. Freshman Leahi Manthei couldn’t find an opening, so she dribbled back around and found Aronson in the middle of the pack.
“She tried to take a shot, but she couldn’t get there,” Aronson said. “So she dribbled around and tried again, and I just happened to be there and just hit it.”
The goal came as a result of the Tides’ emphasis on the attack, which lacked during the first half. The Tides had several players in the vicinity of the goal to free up Aronson to take the strike.
“We started getting numbers up, my outside midfielders were involved in the attack, so it was almost like three wings,” Gig Harbor head coach Dani States said. “I had three center mids, so we were packed in. So when we had a through ball, and even when it got back out, it was all just due to great numbers in the box. Even when the defense tried to get it out, we were there to get it back.”
The Tides came out sluggish in the first half and struggled to generate scoring chances due in part to their inability to get midfielders up field to open up looks at the goal.
“We’ve been struggling coming out with aggression in the first half,” senior captain Kailyn Tovey said. “We need to take more shots and find opportunities to shoot. We’re struggling with connecting up top. We just need to play for the full 80 minutes instead of just coming out for one half.”
States said the team can’t continue to rely on one forward to produce scoring chances. She expects a better effort from her midfielders, especially first halves.
“It’s a matter of just the work ethic and getting my central midfielders to get up before the play already happens,” States said. “As soon as we gain possession, they’re still holding defensively, and then they’re way too far back.”
Bellarmine’s goal came in the fifth minute on an improbable shot. The Lions forward took the shot from outside the box on the left side of the field, and it sailed perfectly into the top right corner of the goal.
States tipped her cap and said there wasn’t much the Tides could do about the goal.
“I think it was just unlucky,” she said. “I don’t really see anything defensively — she’s from the outside, this usually isn’t a threatening area. I think, realistically, she was looking to send it in, and you just find those balls where it hits the right corner. I didn’t see anything where that was any breakdown, it’s just a sweet upper-V shot.”
Tovey said the team wasn’t satisfied with the tie, but they were happy with the way they fought back.
“Obviously, we’re always looking to win, but it’s always good to come back from being one down, and so I’m happy that we scored and finished on a more positive note,” she said.
States said the team needs to play better in the first half if they want to get more wins.
“It’s better than a loss,” she said. “Of course, I think if we show up for 80 minutes, we can pull out more victories. I’m still happy with a zero in the loss column, and it’s a point, but we’ve got to show up in the first half of games.”