With the Gig Harbor High water polo’s team balance of speed, power and finesse, no one was going to stop the Tides this year. Gig Harbor defeated Newport, 10-3, on Saturday night at the Curtis Aquatic Center to win its fifth state title in six years and complete a perfect 25-0 record on the year — the best single-season record in the program’s history.
The Tides, led by a three-headed-monster attack of senior Sarah Anderson (speed), senior Emma Campbell (power) and sophomore Alana Ponce (finesse), dominated the Knights from start to finish.
“It feels pretty good,” Campbell said. “Especially at this point in the season, where we worked really hard to get where we are. Just having this pay off means a lot to us.”
Having so many weapons made the Tides a matchup nightmare for teams all season long. It was no different in the state title game. Ponce led the team with four goals, Campbell had three, and Anderson, Lindsey Moon and Anna Furrer each added one apiece.
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“We look to Sarah for fast breaks,” Campbell said. “She gets that ball and she knows what to do with it. Alana is just a super strong all-around player. A lot of our girls have a lot of skills that we feed off of. We just work together and it works out.”
It seems likely that Gig Harbor will make at least a small regression next year, with talented seniors on this year’s squad.
“It was just weird, considering all our starters are seniors and thinking we can’t have them next year is hard,” Ponce said. “But I think we really played for them.”
Gig Harbor’s explosive offense was complemented by staunch defense, anchored by sophomore goalkeeper Olivia Lott.
“We’ve been working for this since the beginning of the season,” she said. “This is what we came here to do. We started out with a mission to win, and we did.”
Lott was nearly flawless, except for allowing one goal slip by her that shouldn’t have, prompting some words from coach Mike Kelly.
“Yeah, I probably should’ve caught that with two hands,” Lott said, laughing.
Senior goalkeeper Laura Soares spelled Lott in the fourth quarter, continuing the strong play in goal by making some spectacular diving saves.
The Tides water polo dynasty rolls on, with many capable younger players waiting in the wings.
“We’re just bringing up the younger girls and developing the team,” Lott said.