Although the Gig Harbor High girls soccer team defeated Central Kitsap the first time the two teams met in late September, it was a dramatic affair.
The Cougars pounced on the Tides early, scoring three goals against Gig Harbor’s vaunted defense. While the Tides eventually came back and won, 4-3, the team was left a little shocked by the goals it conceded.
So this time around, Gig Harbor’s players wanted no part of digging themselves into a hole. The Tides earned a clean sheet against the Cougars, pressing high and dominating a solid Central Kitsap side to earn a 2-0 win on Tuesday night at Roy Anderson Field. The win pushed Gig Harbor’s record to a perfect 13-0, and 11-0 in the Class 3A South Sound Conference.
“It was a totally, polar opposite game,” said second-year Gig Harbor coach Stephanie Cox. “We just wanted to start strong. … I just told the girls, ‘Let’s be on the front foot and solid in the back.’ We were really clean running through balls, being smart. We don’t have a problem scoring goals. We know goals will come. We just have to win challenges first.”
Indeed, Gig Harbor doesn’t struggle scoring goals. Including Tuesday night’s game, the Tides have scored 63 goals this season, while only conceding seven goals. Gig Harbor has scored 33 goals in its past five games. Gig Harbor star senior forward Leahi Manthei, a Seattle University commit, leads the team with 20 goals, but the Tides have plenty of other offensive weapons. Like sophomore Jaylynn Barton, who used her speed to spring free for the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute, putting the shot in the top left corner of the goal.
“I just hope we stay humble so when we go through state, we’ll do just as well,” Barton said.
Cox said she likes what she’s seeing from her sophomore.
“She has a nose for the goal,” Cox said. “She’s really threatening. She had a lot of goals last year for JV so we’re not really surprised.”
Gig Harbor’s defense didn’t let Central Kitsap generate many good looks during the game.
“I think it starts with (junior goalie) Erinn Harder,” Cox said. “She’s just super confident back there. She came in after the summer with a lot of authority back there and confidence and communicating. We play back to her, she clears the ball. Her footwork is awesome. I think there’s just some good chemistry back there.”
While Gig Harbor still has three league games remaining, the Tides look like a safe bet to win the league title in the newly formed South Sound Conference. The loss for Central Kitsap drops its record to 7-3-2 overall and 7-2-1 in league. The Cougars are still in second place in the league.