Gig Harbor cruised to an easy victory on their first day of the state tournament at Curtis High School, beating Bellevue, 21-1. Down 6-0 early, the Wolvervines opted for an unusual strategy: toss the ball the length of the pool on most possessions and concede the win to Gig Harbor.
“They were coming into the game assuming they were probably going to lose,” said Gig Harbor head coach Mike Kelly. “Having played them earlier in the season, the coach was wanting to preserve the energy of his starters, so he started subbing early.”
The Wolverines tried to drain the clock by having their goalie hold on to the ball, but the Tides pressured the goalie, forcing turnovers, which led to several Gig Harbor goals. Junior Emma Campbell had four goals for the Tides, including the first of the game. While it was never a contest, the junior said it felt good to get the first state win of the year.
“It's encouraging,” Campbell said. “I think it's going to lead way to bigger and better things. I know that the girls get pumped each game. I just want them to get this win and be hungry for more.”
The Tides played again on Wednesday night, beating Enumclaw, 24-5. The blowout win provided another good chance to different players to play together.
“We saw some nice combinations of players that don't normally get together, good passes, some good defense,” Kelly said.
Campbell said the team worked on their fundamentals.
“We were just focusing on just our technique rather than the lead, we just wanted to make sure that the shots we did take were good shots, the right shots,” she said. “We were just focusing on making some solid passes and good shots.”
Gig Harbor's only loss of the season was to Curtis, last year's defending state champions. Campbell said the Tides weren't on the same page in their loss to the Vikings this season.
“Everybody was kind of just off,” Campbell said. “You could feel it.”
The Tides have put in extra work to make sure, if they face Curtis again, the result will be different this time.
“We worked really hard, we put in more hours swimming, we were trying our technique to get cleaner passes, cleaner goals—I think we're ready for them,” Campbell said.
Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.