Still in the hunt for the Class 3A South Sound Conference title, the Gig Harbor Tides desperately needed a win over Central Kitsap on Thursday evening to keep their title hopes alive.
Thanks to seniors Chase Alire and Chase Tovey, the Tides delivered a 3-2 victory over the visiting Cougars at Roy Anderson Field to remain in third place and gain some ground on the Cougars, who dropped into second place with the loss.
Alire and Tovey made life difficult all evening for Central Kitsap (6-0-2 overall and league). Tovey scored the first goal in the sixth minute, heading in a corner kick from Alire. Then, in the 48th minute, Tovey returned the favor, placing a perfectly weighted through ball to the feet of Alire, who slotted the shot home into the left corner of the goal, putting Gig Harbor up 2-0.
Alire’s final touch before shooting was actually a bit too soft, causing his body to drift a bit ahead of the ball. But Alire remained composed and managed to still get a good shot off.
“He was still able to have enough composure to finish it,” said Gig Harbor coach Todd Northstrom. “He knew where he was, he knew where the keeper was — and you don’t have the power it in, you just have to find the corner.”
Central’s Liam Cashmore scored in the 57th minute to draw the Cougars within a goal, but an Cougars’ own goal in the 69th minute made it 3-1 in favor of Gig Harbor. The Cougars added one more goal in the 77th minute, but Gig Harbor (7-3-1, 5-3-1) league ultimately held on the for the win.
After getting beaten down 3-0 on the road early in the season in Gig Harbor’s first meeting with Central Kitsap, the players were happy to get a little revenge.
“It’s huge,” Alire said. “We had to come here and get a win. The first half of the season, we didn’t play as well as we wanted.”
But now, it looks like Gig Harbor may be on the right track.
The Tides are undefeated in their last five games, with the only blemish being a 1-1 tie with first-place Peninsula.
“Traditionally, the Tides have scored way more in the second half of the season,” Alire said. “We’ve been better winning. I think just seeing eye to eye, chemistry between each other is the key.”
Tovey, who has been enjoying a strong rapport with Alire the last stretch of games, concurred.
“We have a lot of momentum going forward after these last couple games,” Tovey said. “The second half of the season is where we’ve just got to turn it up and start playing Tides soccer.”