Charging out to a 3-0 lead behind two first-half goals from Max Harvey, Stadium looked as if it was easily going to claim a big win over first-place Gig Harbor. But the Tides charged back with two goals in the second half, and the Tigers survived some tense final minutes to escape with a 3-2 win on April 23 at Stadium Bowl.
“We were losing focus, but we managed to keep it together until the end,” said Harvey.
Harvey got the Tigers started quickly in the third minute, corralling a free kick and booting it in for a 1-0 lead. The Tides had several opportunities to answer, including Bjorn Brynestad’s shot from 15 yards out in the 18th minute that sailed just right and Davis McCall’s header that was just left of goal two minutes later. Harvey then doubled the Tigers’ lead in the 23rd minute after taking a pass, switching directions to cross up a defender and driving a low shot into the left side.
“I wanted to score,” Harvey said of his mindset going into the key match. “I was kind of looking for the chances, and looking for the quick balls in behind to get me close to the goal.”
Garrett Harp gave Stadium a 3-0 lead in the 34th minute, sending a follow-up shot into an empty net after Jacob Beardemphl’s shot was deflected out. But Gig Harbor started quickly in the second half, as McCall drove a header into the right netting off a corner in the 46th minute.
“We came out a little flat, they got that first goal and the momentum just changed,” said Stadium head coach Adam Becker. “They had it the whole second half.”
Indeed, the Tides brought most of the pressure in the second period, leaving the Tigers scrambling to thwart off offensive attacks. Gig Harbor cut it to 3-2 in the 62nd minute when Jon Brown sent a low pass in the box to Tanner Stepp, who finished it in front of goal. That seemed to be enough to wake up the Tigers a bit, as they escaped any more serious threats and were able to retain possession to run out the final minutes.
The win put the Tigers just one point behind first-place Central Kitsap in the Narrows 4A, but Stadium has played one less match than the Cougars.
“I don’t think it’s going to change our mindset, because we’ve been winning and beating the best teams in the league,” Harvey said of the big win. “It’s just a matter of keeping our heads together, not getting too cocky and just keep doing what we’re doing.”