A much-anticipated battle between soccer powers and South Sound Conference co-leaders went down at Roy Anderson Field on Friday, Sept. 30.
The Gig Harbor Tides and Peninsula Seahawks ended the night exactly where they started: tied atop the SSC standings, after a 2-2 tie.
The game started fast as players took turns displaying the skills that helped them to an undefeated start in SSC play. Pinpoint passes to flashing cutters were met by rugged defenders and physical checking in the game’s first 15 minutes.
After that, Gig Harbor started to possess the ball a little more. They pressured the Seahawk defense with shots on goal, narrowly missing a few times.
The Tides were awarded a corner kick for their aggressiveness. Hailey Burris feathered a beauty from the right corner, inches over the heads of several players. Sophie Blake leaped to head the ball into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Gig Harbor’s Sophie Blake (16) and Sami Huber (13) scored goals in last week’s 2-2 tie with Peninsula.
The goal stunned the Seahawks (7-1-1, 6-0-1 SSC), who were in perfect position to defend, but sometimes good offense simply beats good defense. The deficit doubled only 90 seconds later, when Sami Huber blasted a shot that found the back of the net.
Suddenly Gig Harbor led 2-0 and it looked like the game might get away from the Seahawks.
“Our team did an awesome job at the beginning of the first half and then took their foot off the gas for a bit,” Peninsula coach Kim Demianiw said. “That’s when GH had the opportunity to score two goals.”
The Seahawks stepped it up in the second half, playing with desperation. They were rewarded when a penalty was called in the box, resulting in a direct kick for the Seahawks.
As a Seahawk lined up to take the penalty kick, Demianiw called for defender Emma Krueger to take it. Her players didn’t hear her.
Seahawk Makena Getts maneuvers through Tides defenders before getting the shot off that tied the game at 2-2.
Demianiw yelled “Emma” 11 times, to no avail. Eventually her pleas were heard and her decision proved to be as spot-on as the kick. Krueger blasted a shot to the left corner, making the score 2-1 with 28 minutes to go.
Back and forth the action went. Long runs and rocket shots were denied as both sides displayed excellent defense. The closest goal attempt was by the talented Seahawk freshman Maya Rogers, whose shot barely missed as the packed grandstands moaned.
The Seahawks broke through when Makena Getts scored with 17 minutes to go. She made a nifty cross dribble to her right, faked a shot, gathered and fired into the net, knotting the score at 2. Her teammates leaped into the air and swarmed the junior.
The next 17 minutes was an all-out battle. Both teams had players go down to the turf. Soccer is a physical game and the experienced referees were in control, but they clearly wanted the players to decide the game themselves.
Peninsula roars into the night after tying the game 2-2, as one Tide couldn’t bare to watch.
With under a minute to go, the intensity finally boiled over. Two players briefly tangled on the sideline going for a ball in front of their benches.
Unpleasantries may have been exchanged between the two, but both players apologized quickly before one said, “let’s play.” It was clear these two teams would have played all night to decide a winner.
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But just seventeen seconds later the referee blew the final whistle to declare a 2-2 tie, bringing a curious end to a game that won’t soon be forgotten.
The tie sets the stage for a must-see rematch on Oct. 25 in a game that will probably decide the South Sound Conference championship.
The SSC doesn’t employ shootouts or overtimes to determine a winner, as some other conferences do (shootouts are used in the playoffs). The coaches had different opinions on the rule.
“Shootouts are a great way to win and rough to lose,” Gig Harbor (6-0-1 SSC and overall) coach Katie Bennett said. “I would like to see it with some overtime periods, played like other sports.”
“Ties are a part of soccer,” Demianiw said. “It doesn’t really bother me, honestly. Some leagues have decided to go to shootouts, but ours hasn’t done that.”
Both coaches were happy with their team’s efforts.
“Our coaches were really impressed with the team’s show of Purdy Grit,” Demianiw said. “They did not give up and fought hard to get those two goals back.”
“We were pleased with our captain’s response at the end of the game when girls were upset with the result,” Bennett said. “The response from our captains was positive and exactly what the girls needed.”
Peninsula senior Campbell Stegeman looks to advance the ball during a game earlier this season. Bryce Carithers
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