Chances are, if there’s a loose ball in the pool, Gig Harbor High School senior Sarah Anderson will get to it. Dazzling spectators with speed, poise and shooting skill around the goal, the do-it-all senior has the Tides looking like clear favorites to win yet another state title.
In the pool, where fatigue sets in quickly for a lot of players, speed is a valuable asset.
“I use it every opportunity I have,” Anderson said. “Speed is an advantage in this game and if you have an opportunity to get down to the end of the pool ahead of everybody else, either you can use it to set up or just take the shot. It’s a great opportunity.”
Gig Harbor coach Mike Kelly has seen Anderson blossom from a wide-eyed freshman to a senior leader and complete player.
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“You can’t see where she was as a freshman and where she is now; it’s completely opposite ends of the spectrum,” Kelly said.
“She has a great feel for the game,” Kelly said. “She really anticipates well. She’s been having a fantastic season. Generally, she’s one of our highest scorers every day. She’s blessed with a lot of speed and knowledge of the game. She has a real touch with the ball, sometimes it’s a really hard shot straight on at the goal, other times it’ll be a high lob from some strange angle. She just makes it work for her.”
She also has long arms and plays aggressively on defense, forcing turnovers and generally making life difficult for opponents.
“The Tides really focus on getting in the passing lane,” Anderson said. “When we’re playing, we make sure we have our arm up so that when we’re trying to steal the ball, it gives us an advantage.”
Gig Harbor’s win over Peninsula on Friday (the Seahawks had to forfeit due to lack of players) pushed the Tides’ season record to 18-0. Gig Harbor appears practically unstoppable on its pursuit of another state championship.
“I’m pretty confident (we can win another state title),” Anderson said. “I think that if we play like we’ve been playing and if we have the heart to win, we’ll win. We just have to stay focused and stay positive and keep the team dynamic.”
For a coach that has done just about nothing but win, Kelly has even more confidence in this year’s group than in years past.
“This is probably the most confidence I’ve had in a team,” Kelly said. “We’ve got a real nice mix of players and styles. The team is in really good condition.”
The Tides will compete for the state championship during Memorial Day weekend at Curtis High School.