A game of inches, the Gig Harbor girls soccer’s magical run continued on Saturday following a 1-0 victory over state power Issaquah in the 4A state quarterfinals.
The Tides found their game winning goal in the 46th minute as sophomore Leahi Manthei got on the end of a corner kick that squirted just outside the box, where Manthei was waiting to half volley it back into the net.
Issaquah junior goalkeeper Anna Miller made an attempt to clear it from danger, but her diminutive frame kept her just out of reach from making the save.
“This is the third year we’ve faced Issaquah in state and they’ve beaten us both times before. Third time is a charm,” Gig Harbor coach Dani States said. “I believe they’re the top team in the state. The history is there and they’re just solid. They’re a phenomenal team. To be able to beat them finally, especially in the quarterfinals, it’s amazing.”
Although it was the Tides advancing to Friday’s semifinals , a case could be made that the Eagles had the better opportunities on goal.
Gig Harbor will face Central Valley, who defeated West Valley of Yakima, 1-0, earlier in the day.
The Tides bend-but-don’t-break defense gave Issaquah numerous looks from outside the box, including a couple that have to be parried over the crossbar. The most dangerous shot on goal came from senior Lyrik Fryer, a Florida International commit, who made attacking runs throughout the defense.
Despite the opportunities, Gig Harbor junior goalkeeper Jordan Bertram came up big for the Tides. Defensive standouts Emery Wallerich, who is committed to play for Oregon State next year, and junior Cara Tallman also played a big part in holding down the mighty Issaquah squad.
“Our defense all season long has been very composed,” States, now in her eighth year of coaching the Tides said. “They’re not frantic, they can handle the pressure and Emery is a great leader and that composure for us. Jordan is the same way. Their personalities are mellow and they’re not fazed by pressure.”
With the final stages of the state playoffs ahead, Gig Harbor will make their second trip to the final four. The last came in the 2011 season when they were knocked out by Bellarmine Prep.
For seniors Wallerich, Rachel Ross and Sarah Hashman, this will be their second trip to the semifinals.
“I told the girls before the game, what about a book ending finish for the seniors,” States said. “They started at the final four as freshmen and they were all varsity, and to be able to finish their senior year at the final four, that’s pretty great.”
Jackson (15-4-1) advanced to play Skyline in one 4A semifinal Friday at Sparks Stadium.
Kristina Serres gave the Wesco 4A champions a 1-0 lead with her goal in the 28th minute. Callie Vanaelst earned the shutout in goal.