For 90 minutes on Tuesday night, the Gig Harbor and Bellevue soccer teams exchanged blows, neither team backing down in the opening round of the Class 3A state tournament at Roy Anderson Field.
But with the score knotted at 1-1 after the two five-minute overtime periods, the game went to a penalty shootout, which Bellevue took, 7-6, to end the Tides’ season.
“It’s really hard, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t define our season at all,” said Gig Harbor senior defender Sophia Hatteberg. “The rest of our season shows how unbelievable each and every girl on this team is. It really just showed how well we played.”
Gig Harbor opened up the scoring in the 32nd minute, when the ball slipped out wide to Tides’ junior Tatum Griffin, who knocked it into the back of the net.
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But Bellevue came back with renewed energy after the half. Senior forward Kiley Suter got loose and nearly knocked in the shot, which bounced off a Gig Harbor defender for an own goal, leveling the score.
Both teams generated plenty more chances throughout the game, but neither could find the go-ahead goal. Gig Harbor looked dangerous all evening and kept attacking.
“It was just one of those games,” Gig Harbor coach Stephanie Cox said. “I’m so incredibly proud of the players. They laid it all out there, and I just said ‘No regrets.’ They played with heart. Bellevue is great team, they weren’t going to give us anything easy. Both teams had good chances both ways.
“I’m just proud of the passion and the work-rate they showed out there.”
Gig Harbor’s players and coaching staff were pleased with the performance overall, despite the end result.
“I thought we played really well,” Hatteberg said. “To end it (in a shootout) is something that could’ve happened to anyone. … We were really unified, we’ve grown so much over this season, so us to connect as a unit toward the end of the season — this was our best game. We just keep getting better and better. That’s what so cool about our team. This team means so much to every single player. This season has been unbelievable.”
Bellevue (13-5-1) heads to the next round of the state tournament. Gig Harbor’s (15-3-0) season comes to a close.