Senior Kellan Grant scored seven goals to lead the Peninsula Seahawks past the Gig Harbor Tides 13-7 in a boys water polo contest last Wednesday.
“I got a lot of good passes from my teammates, that really helped out,” Grant said. “I couldn’t have really done it without them.”
Peninsula celebrated senior night prior to the game. Head coach Chelsea Laning offered praise for Grant, who has been a steady member of the team for the past four years.
“Kellan is definitely one of our strongest players,” Laning said. “He has the most experience. He’s really improved in the time I’ve been here. He’s one of those quiet leaders, but he leads with actions. I’m really proud of him and his accomplishments this whole year, not just in this game.”
First-year Gig Harbor head coach Harrison Oak knew containing Grant would be a challenge, and he said the Tides didn’t do a very good job with it.
“Kellan was able to get all of our players on his back and draw the kick,” Oak said. “My players need to work on keeping their hips up, staying in front of them instead of getting turned, and getting eventually on the person’s back.”
Oak played water polo at Peninsula all four years, so coaching his crosstown rival against his former team was a strange feeling, he said. The Gig Harbor program is its in first year and has dealt with growing pains.
The bleachers at the Peninsula High School pool were crowded for the match, showing the potential of growing into an intense rivalry once Gig Harbor can be more competitive.
“It’s really cool,” Grant said. “It’s kind of fun to have a big game for water polo, because it’s kind of a smaller sport in Washington, so having this many people show up to a game feels really good.”
The players enjoyed comparing it to the annual Fish Bowl football game.
“It is exciting,” Laning said. “They have the big football Fish Bowl, and the guys were calling it the real fish bowl, since it is in the pool. It’s been really exciting, and it’s been fun for Peninsula to really set that tone as far as the rivalry for years to come.”
The game was tied 1-1 at the end of the first quarter, and the Tides looked capable of pulling off the upset. But during the course of the game, Peninsula pulled away.
“I was pleased with their composure,” Laning said. “They played really well. They kept their heads up. That was a good game, Gig Harbor has really improved. They were able to keep their composure and pull through and stay the team we’ve been working to be all year.”
Oak said he expected the growing pains, especially with a team that doesn’t have a senior. The team has shown solid improvement during the course of the year, he said.
“They played a tremendous first quarter,” Oak said. “They played solid defense, solid offense, put some goals on the board, but we kind of fell apart towards the second half. We’ve made a lot of progress. We have no seniors this year, so we’re just looking forward to next year, moving and growing, and hopefully we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”