Gateway: Sports

Bullpen: What to watch for in Seahawks and Tides fall sports this season

Gig Harbor's Carolyn Merrick, 4, keeps possession away from Stadium's Samantha Putnam, 7, in the first half of last year’s district playoff game.
Gig Harbor's Carolyn Merrick, 4, keeps possession away from Stadium's Samantha Putnam, 7, in the first half of last year’s district playoff game. jbessex@gateline.com

The fall sports season is almost here. I looked at five football games to mark on your calendars for this upcoming season. There are some other exciting storylines to follow with the other fall sports as well. Here are some things to watch at Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools this fall.

Can the Gig Harbor girls soccer team get through the league unscathed again?

Under second-year coach Stephanie Cox, the Tides posted a perfect 16-0 record in the Class 3A South Sound Conference a year ago. While Gig Harbor was bounced in the first round of the state playoffs in a 2-0 loss to Roosevelt, the Tides finished with a ridiculous 17-1 overall record.

But Gig Harbor loses a strong senior class which included Seattle University signee Leahi Manthei and University of Idaho signee Kaysie Bruce. A perfect regular season will be difficult to duplicate, but Gig Harbor is traditionally a strong soccer program and the Tides will be up for the challenge.

Gig Harbor opens the season on Thursday, Sept. 7 against Union High School at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver. The Tides knocked off the Titans last year, 1-0.

Can Peninsula girls’ soccer build on its state appearance a year ago?

Peninsula seemed an unlikely candidate to appear in the Class 3A state tournament a season ago, but the Seahawks caught fire at the right time, beating Lakes in the district tournament, 3-1, and winning a wild 6-5 affair against Bonney Lake to punch its ticket to the state tournament.

While the Seahawks were eliminated in the first round of the state tournament by Bishop Blanchet, the Seahawks were a young and exciting team a season ago and return a solid core of talented players.

Peninsula returns senior defender and captain Aoife Duffy, as well as other starters and contributors from last year’s team. Head coach Jenny Buys said a year ago the state appearance would make the team hungrier next year. Let’s see how that translates to the field this year.

Can Gig Harbor volleyball make another deep run in state?

Gig Harbor went on a 19-game winning streak that stretched into the state tournament in the 2016 fall season. It ended with a win over Bellevue and a fifth-place state finish, the school’s highest state finish since 1997.

The team only had two seniors a season ago, making the Tides a strong bet to be one of the tougher teams in Class 3A.

Seniors Lauren Hatfield and Hadassah Ward return and will look to lead Gig Harbor to another deep postseason run.

What’s the cross country picture look like for the Tides and Seahawks?

The Gig Harbor boys took sixth in the Class 3A state meet in Pasco last year, while the Peninsula girls took tenth.

The Gig Harbor boys seem to reload year after year. Junior Bradley Peloquin should be in the mix for a state title this season, while seniors Finlay Adamson, Arthur Keast and Avery Atwater will look to round out what should once again be a strong squad.

On the girls side, Peninsula returns senior Ashley Fahey and sophomore Sadie Lucero, as well as junior McKenna Clark.

For Gig Harbor, junior Jessica Figgat and senior Ashley Haywood will look to take the next step.

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