Down three goals with nine minutes to go in Gig Harbor’s Class 3A state semifinal game against Snohomish at Sparks Stadium on Friday afternoon, nothing was going the Tides’ way.
But something changed. A goal by Jovani Martinez cut the deficit to two. And then Max Frank, after a shot by Martinez, capitalized for another goal to trim the deficit to one with about five minutes left.
That, though, was as close as the Tides would get. Snohomish held on for a 4-3 victory in Puyallup to advance to Saturday’s championship game.
The rally after a less than stellar start was was emblematic of Gig Harbor’s season. The Tides took third in the inaugural season of the 3A South Sound Conference. But they made the playoffs and fought their way through to the state semifinals.
There’s something to be said for that, Gig Harbor coach Todd Northstrom said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of a group of guys that I’ve ever coached,” Northstrom said. “They didn’t give up, down 4-1. My coaches, the bench, everyone wanted to get back into it. We saw what we could possibly do if we could just get our heads into it.”
The first half belonged to Snohomish, which, like Gig Harbor, dropped to 3A from 4A this season. The Panthers, who won back-to-back state titles in 2014-15 and have made the state semifinals in four consecutive years, led 2-0 at the break.
Junior Jamie Young scored on a deflected goal in the second minute and senior forward Logan Stapleton tacked on another in the 22nd minute, getting behind the defense and slotting home the goal with ease.
Stapleton added a similar goal in the 44th minute to make it 3-0 for the Panthers.
“I think a lot of it was just ball watching,” Northstrom said. “We’d lose sight of what’s around us and we’d be standing flat. You’re going to get bit by teams like this when you do that. That’s how they try to play, direct into space. We got bit. It’s unfortunate, almost every way we talked about how they could score on us, they did.”
Chase Tovey opened the scoring for the Tides two minutes later but Gig Harbor fell behind, 4-1, when Felipe Cerna scored in the 70th minute.
Northstrom, who has coached the team for 15 years, officially announced he will step down after this season.
Gig Harbor will play for third place in tomorrow’s consolation game at Sparks Stadium against the loser of the Roosevelt and Garfield game. The consolation game begins at 10 a.m.