Joel Jacobsen just wants to keep playing high school soccer.
The Gig Harbor High School senior and the rest of the Tides hadn’t had much luck scoring against Olympia in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament at Roy Anderson Field on Wednesday night, but Jacobsen delivered in the game’s waning moments. Senior Tanner Stepp delivered a good ball on a corner kick and Jacobsen did the rest, diving toward the goal and heading it into the back of the net, giving the Tides the 1-0 win over Olympia.
“I think with a lot of seniors, we just don’t want this to be our last game — ever,” Jacobsen said. “We want to win state, we want to go out on a good note. We just wanted to win. That’s really all we want to do. I’m a senior, I don’t want to end my season. I don’t want to stop playing today.”
Jacobsen won’t have to stop playing, thanks to his late-game heroics, which have been a trend for him lately, according to coach Todd Northstrom.
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“That’s the second time in a week that Joel has won it in the last few minutes for us,” Northstrom said. “Joel’s come up big a lot this year in certain situations. He’s got two game-winners in the last week. He’s stepped up big time for us.”
Fluky things can happen in overtime, and especially in a penalty kick shootout, so Jacobsen didn’t want it to even get to that point.
“We can win in PK’s; we can win anytime,” Jacobsen said. “We want to end on the game and not go to overtime. It just drags out and you never know what happens. We want to just win our way and win the game right.”
Despite having a considerable edge in time of possession, Northstrom wasn’t too happy with the team’s execution of the game plan.
“I said to my guys, ‘They’re going to pack it in, they’re going to go for the tie,’” Northstrom said. “So we have to be patient, we have to stretch the field wide, and we can’t just force it up the middle, cause that’s where their strength is going to be. So what do we do the whole first half? We force it up the middle. We have brief little moments where we execute well and we open it up. And then we get away from it.”
The Tides will have a chance to correct some of the mental mistakes before playing host to Wenatchee High on Saturday.
“Yeah, we weren’t playing our best at all,” Jacobsen said. “But we’ll come back. We’ll keep on going. That’s what we do: We just get better.”
Northstrom is just hoping the Tides make it a little easier next time.
“We’ve got to get better,” he said. “My heart can’t handle that stuff anymore.”