With a district tournament spot assured and facing a squad fighting for its playoff life, Stadium knew it was in for a challenge against Gig Harbor. The Tigers created several early chances, but ultimately could not capitalize in falling 1-0 at home to the Tides on May 4.
On senior night, it was senior forward Matt Varela who had a golden opportunity on a breakaway in the 10th minute, but his shot was deflected out by Tides keeper Korey Durkee, the reigning Narrows 4A MVP.
“I think that would have changed the game,” said Stadium head coach Mike Caldwell. “Their keeper came up big…he hasn’t had his best season, but of course against us he played great.”
Gig Harbor then began pressuring the Tigers’ defense, and finally capitalized in the 34th minute, when forward Ian Grissom brought down a header at the top of the box and drove a low shot past Tigers keeper Nick Rosato.
“Besides that one mistake, they played pretty well,” said Caldwell of his team. “Second half, we put pressure on them. The last 10 minutes we were down there, we just couldn’t finish today.”
Max Harvey tried to help even the score by sending a beautiful chip forward to Kyle Ballard, but the senior midfielder could not get a solid shot off. The Tigers had two late chances in the 74th minute when Jacob Beardemphl sent a cross just over the head of Jordan Cohen that was headed out, and Patrick Ganu’s follow-up shot was blocked.
Despite the loss, the Tigers have locked up the league’s third seed and will have a district tournament match on May 12 at 11 a.m. at Mount Tahoma High School. The win put the Tides in fifth place, a point behind South Kitsap, who was to host Gig Harbor on May 8 to decide the final playoff spot.
“Can I say they wanted it more than us? Maybe,” said Caldwell. “But like I said, we had chances and it didn’t work out for us…it’s a good learning experience, and hopefully we don’t have to use it in districts. But we’ll see what happens.”