Community Sports

Gig Harbor, Peninsula soccer teams advance to state

Posted on October 31st, 2023 By:

The fall sports season is churning through its final few weeks, with many local teams and individuals at or near the top of the South Sound Conference.

This week features two rivalry games between Peninsula and Gig Harbor and much more, including individual district champions and state qualifiers.

Both soccer teams advance to state

Both local soccer teams who won their district tournament openers on Saturday, Oct. 28, and advanced to state.

The Tides used pinpoint passing and relentless pressure to thrash Capital, 6-1. Peninsula got its ninth shutout of the year to beat fourth-seeded Prairie, 1-0.

The two teams advanced to face each other at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Mount Tahoma High School.

The Tides (14-2-2, 12-1-1) won the first match of the year against the Seahawks, 3-0. In a regular-season rematch, Peninsula (12-2-2, 11-1-2) had a 1-0 lead in the second half before the Tides scored on a penalty kick to end the game in a 1-1 tie. The matchup tonight promises to be a good one as both teams are uber talented, tough and well coached.

“Being a rivalry game, I feel like they can swing either way but I know we have the ability to beat them, we’ve done it before,” Gig Harbor senior midfielder Sophie Blake said. “It’s always a mental game when we face them, we just need to play our game.”

From left, Sarah Ehler, Sophie Blake and Ella Gardner of Gig Harbor have reached the Class 3A state soccer tournament four straight years. Photo by Dennis Browne

Peninsula senior Makena Getts scored a clutch goal in the win over Prairie. The senior, third on the team in scoring behind Ella Coates and Hailey Shride, combines top-end speed and aggression.

The Seahawk defense does not allow many openings, as Prairie discovered.

“Our keeper, Brooklyn Finch, and our back line led by seniors Emma Krueger and Addison Sabren are outstanding,” Peninsula coach Kim Demianiw said. “They are joined by Alex Cichanski, Maya Rodgers and Sydney Nickels, who have all contributed to an outstanding season, only allowing a combined eight goals this season.”

Gig Harbor’s defensive standouts include aggressive seniors Sarah Ehler and Ella Gardner. The Tides are laser-focused on a state title this season.

“We have a lot left to prove and some unfinished business from the last two years … It’s good to be back at state, we really want to show the other 3A teams what were made of,” Ehler said.

“It’s about tradition,” Gardner addded. “We’ve made it every year we’ve been here, we want to power through and get further than we ever have before.”

Players from both teams have played with or against each other since they were in elementary school. All want a win tonight. Both teams will advance to state regardless of the outcome tonight, but district results determine seeding to state.

Peninsula’s Higgins, Gig Harbor’s Miles win district XC titles

Two local cross country runners were crowned district champions on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Chambers Creek.

Peninsula’s Elektra Higgins won by 15 seconds to dominate another talented field. She pulled away from the pack and wasn’t challenged as she posted a superb time of 17:24.

Two Gig Harbor boys runners were in a dog fight for the district crown. Senior Johnathon Miles kicked a little harder, crossing the line .08 faster than senior teammate and friend Preston Fradet to claim the district title in 15:45.6. Both runners got a measure of redemption after they were disqualified at the South Sound Conference championships last week when they turned off onto the wrong race path.

The Gig Harbor boys placed second at districts as a team after their one-two finish. The Gig Harbor girls also placed second, thanks in part to fourth- and fifth-place performances from junior Taylor Sletner and sophomore Lejla Carlsson. Four-sport Tide athlete Alex Ferrier finished 13th.

Johnathon Miles of Gig Harbor beat teammate Preston Fradet by .08 seconds to claim the cross country district championship at Chambers Bay. Photo by Kevin Eager

The Seahawk girls finished fifth at districts behind Higgins’ win and senior Lola Sweet’s 19th-place finish. The Peninsula boys were paced by Cooper Leavengood’s 14th-place finish.

The state cross country championships are  Saturday, Nov. 4, at Sun Willows golf course in the Tri-Cities. Higgins will be up against some very talented runners but has the goods to possibly bring home a state title.

“Elektra is excelling because she approaches the sport and her daily habits with incredible diligence and attention to detail,” said Peninsula coach Tyler Nugent. “She has refined the essential skill of knowing when to push and when to back off in training. I can’t wait to see what she does this week!”

Volleyball teams battle for 2nd in league

The Gig Harbor (10-6, 8-5) volleyball team gave Class 3A No. 1-ranked North Thurston all it could handle on Oct. 30, before succumbing falling 3-2 in Lacey. It was an impressive showing for the Tides, who continue to improve behind the excellent play of Natalie Piasecki, Lydia Ward, Hannah Artman, Payton Heim, Maggie Maharry and the outstanding serving of Liv Cichanski.

Playing so well at North Thurston has to have the Tides and coach Slade Klein confident coming into the boisterous Hawks nest Wednesday night. Gig Harbor plays at Peninsula at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 1 in a must-see game for local volleyball fans.

The Seahawks (10-5, 9-4) lost 3-0 on Oct. 30 to Timberline. The Blazers have a freshman phenom in Kinley Smith who is one of the state leaders in aces. She delivered plenty of them to knock off the Seahawks, 25-18, 25-18 and 25-22.

Peninsula junior Ziah Sneva spikes a ball during a recent game. Photo by David Turley

The Seahawks had a chance to win the third game and climb back in the match but many times were the victim of unforced errors. A few serves went into the net and a couple indecisive moments led to the ball hitting the floor in crunch time.

The Seahawks got inspired efforts on Senior Night from senior Evalyn Sutherland, sophomore Emma Young and emotional freshman Bridget Bender.

The Tides have clearly improved from the teams’ last meeting, when the Seahawks won 3-2 on Oct. 5. But Peninsula’s loud home court advantage will prove difficult. Expect an intense, all-out effort game between the two rivals for the No. 2 spot in the SSC standings.

Long days ahead for Peninsula water polo

The Peninsula water polo team has been beating opponents in the pool soundly and sports an impressive 13-1 record. They won their league championship and now are looking for a D2 state championship for coach Carter Gilmore. If they finish in the top three of that tournament they will qualify for the Division 1 state tournament as well.

The Seahawks are preparing for a D2 tournament matchup against Bellevue at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at Rodgers High School in Puyallup. The Seahawks could play as many as four games in two days in one of high school’s most demanding sports.

Seahawks in football mini-playoff

The Peninsula football team will be in action tonight (Oct. 31) at the South Sound Stadium in Lacey as the Seahawks try to claim the conference’s third and final playoff spot. Peninsula, Capital and Timberline have identical 4-3 conference records and will all participate in a three game mini-playoff.

Peninsula faces Timberline at 7 p.m.; the Blazers defeated them 35-0 just four days ago. The Peninsula faces Capital at 7:45 p.m.; the Seahawks beat the Cougars 27-19 on Oct. 13. Timberline lost to Capital 16-15 on Oct. 19.

The winner of the mini-tournament earns the South Sound Conference No. 3 playoff seed, but with a short turnaround time to prepare for a playoff game.

The Gig Harbor Tides (7-2, 6-1) are safely into the postseason after their second-place finish in the SSC.  They host a first round Class 3A playoff game against Marysville-Pilchuck at Roy Anderson Field at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4.