Gig Harbor High sophomore Chase Alire needed to do some quick thinking midway through the Tides’ matchup Friday against Thomas Jefferson High.
Alire was planning to take teammate Edwin Brown’s pass at his feet and strike it into the goal in the 35th minute, but the ball bounced high in front of him.
The sophomore midfielder reacted quickly, opting instead to head the ball over the goalie for the score, putting the host Tides up 1-0 late in the first half. Gig Harbor (7-1-1 overall, 5-1-0 Narrows 4A) never looked back, cruising to a 2-0 win over Thomas Jefferson High School (4-2-3 overall, 3-1-2 SPSL 4A Northwest).
"I was expecting it to bounce low so I just come through, but it bounced pretty high so I knew I had to use my head," Alire said of his first goal of the season.
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With some injuries and some kids taking off early for spring break, the Tides had some young players step up Friday and get some meaningful playing time. Sophomore Shawn Kimble gave the Tides the game-sealing goal late in the second half, a low strike off a defender’s deflection in the box.
"No matter who we fill in anywhere, they filled their role, did their job, and played Tides soccer," Gig Harbor coach Todd Northstrom said.
Gig Harbor’s only loss this season came at the hands of rival Bellarmine Prep — a loss the Tides hope to avenge down the road.
"I feel the second half of the season, we always play and get better," Northstrom said. "The way they’ve practiced ever since the Bellarmine loss and the way we’ve moved the ball in terms of having a chance to play and get some other people in, I feel confident heading into the second week of the season. I feel like we can win the league and maybe even pull away."
Gig Harbor will not only have to deal with the Lions’ talent, but also a grass surface at Bellarmine’s Memorial Field.
"Our biggest problem is our mental element," Northstrom said. "Bellarmine, we went in and kind of handled them last year, and kind of thought, ‘We’re the same guys, we’re going to do the same thing.’ And they came in and kind of punched us in the mouth."
Gig Harbor get its rematch with Bellarmine on May 5.