When Emily Sutton gets on a run from behind the service line, opposing teams are in trouble.
Sutton spiked a season-high nine aces and added 20 assists, and middle blocker Liz Fredrickson had 10 kills and six blocks to lead the Gig Harbor Tides in a three-game sweep over Olympia on Thursday in a Class 4A Narrows League match at Gig Harbor High School.
It was a bounce-back contest for the Tides (7-3 overall, 5-3 league), who were swept by league-leading Bellarmine Prep on Oct. 8 and also dropped a four-game match at Olympia earlier this season.
“This was probably the biggest win of the year that we were pushing for,” Fredrickson said.
Gig Harbor jumped out early in all three games and cruised to a 25-13, 25-19, 25-12 victory. The Bears (7-2, 6-2) never got their offense going and challenged Gig Harbor only briefly in game two.
Sutton had a big impact. Her service run to start the opening game helped the Tides jump out to a 7-0 edge. Three points were aces.
“We’ve been working a lot on our serves at practice, and it’s really good to come out here and utilize that,” she said.
The Tides twice led by 10 points in the first game and closed out with a 13-point margin.
Sutton had two aces in the midst of a 4-0 start in the second set, but Olympia battled back and took its only lead of the night at 8-7 to force Gig Harbor coach Sue Westering into a timeout.
“We lost the momentum for a little bit,” Sutton said. “That (timeout) was big because it got us back together, and we decided we needed to stick together and get the momentum back.”
Fredrickson said the team’s No. 1 goal as it went into the match was to communicate and play at a consistent level. Moments later, Lauren Sutton and Fredrickson each had kills, and Fredrickson’s stuff block gave the Tides a 14-10 advantage.
Fredrickson continued to light up the stat sheet with another kill and an ace for a 19-12 lead. Her tip near the net found the floor to finish off the second game.
Emily Sutton started another long service run to open game three, a 10-point surge that included three aces. Olympia fought back to within eight points on a couple of occasions, but the Tides stifled any potential comeback.
Fredrickson and Chelsea Binnig combined up front to limit the damage from Olympia’s outside hitters, and Binnig contributed seven kills. Lauren Sutton had six kills and two blocks, and Gig Harbor’s Summer Adams added seven digs.
Fredrickson’s presence in the middle often keys Gig Harbor victories.
“It always feels good to get a block like that,” she said. “At the beginning of the season, we were struggling a little bit with closing out the blocks. As the season’s progressed, we’ve done better.”
The Tides have concentrated on speeding up their offense, and Fredrickson said it pays dividends on the other end of the floor.
“It helps with blocking when other teams run a fast offense, too,” she said.