Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor takes hits, knocks off Bellarmine

With a Bellarmine Prep defender on his back hip in the third quarter, Gig Harbor High senior Alex Dworsky rolled off him, spun, faded away and scored. The goal put the Tides up 7-1 late in the third, in a showing of total dominance for the Gig Harbor lacrosse team on April 1 at Roy Anderson Field.

Gig Harbor rolled to the easy win, 9-2.

"He’s got mad skills," Gig Harbor coach Marc Kemp said of Dworsky. "He’s got a lot of nifty moves."

Kemp recalled when Dworsky first stepped onto the practice field during the summer between his eighth- and ninth-grade year. The Tides lacrosse program was still "Harbor Fire," which split last year into schools, representing Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools.

"He was super dodgy, really quick, had a lot of cutbacks and a pretty good stick," Kemp said.

Now he’s become a senior leader on a team that Kemp said is the harbor’s best yet. The Tides are off to a 5-0 start this season.

"Everyone has improved a lot," Dworsky said. "We’ve got underclassmen that are stepping up a lot, and all our upperclassmen are solid. We don’t have any weaknesses. Last year, we had a lot."

Gig Harbor dominated in all facets of the game against Bellarmine.

"We prepared better," Dworsky said. "We’re just a better team, honestly. They weren’t ready for it. They just wanted to hit us and we wanted to win the game. When they have men in the penalty box all game, it’s easy to win."

Some of the hits Bellarmine delivered didn’t set well with the Tides. One hit against Hunter Olsen earned a penalty and a late-game hit against Elliot Hunter earned a Bellarmine player an ejection.

"They were just playing dirty ... they were mad that they were down," Dworsky said.

Kemp said that in his playing days, both hits would have been fine — encouraged even. But not in today’s sports culture.

"Lacrosse used to be a really hard hitting sport," Kemp said. "As the NFL has been making their changes because of concussions, the country has become really obsessed and aware of it, the rules in lacrosse have changed. You essentially can barely knock a guy over anymore without it being an illegal body check."

Kemp called the last hit that resulted in an ejection "inappropriate," but added he respects the Bellarmine program.

It was an impressive all-around effort for Gig Harbor, especially defensively, holding the Lions to only two goals. Gig Harbor senior goalie Ashton Sidebottom saved more than 90 percent of Bellarmine’s shot attempts.

"Ashton has been starting for us since he was a freshman," Kemp said. "I think he’s one of the best."

Kemp also credited new defensive coordinator Tyler Fleetham with construction a rock-solid defense.

"He’s been working with the kids a lot and has got them to be a really good unit," Kemp said. "I was very happy with that."