It only took about 20 seconds for Bellarmine Prep senior Jordan Williams to score a goal Thursday evening on the road at Gig Harbor.
Turns out, that’s all the Lions would need. Bellarmine (11-1-1 overall, 9-0-1 Narrows 4A) rode its steady defense to a 1-0 victory over the Tides, clinching the Narrows 4A title and earning the season sweep over its rival across the bridge.
Bellarmine senior Bailey Larson was winning balls in the air all night as part of a stifling back line that held Gig Harbor (10-3-1, 7-3-1) scoreless in both contests this season.
“We’re physical,” Larson said. “We’re winning every ball in the air. We’re amazing. Elijah (Wolf), Tommy Martin, me, Tyler (Vu), who’s been playing awesome. Sean Lane has the speed, he’s physical with his shoulders. Overall, we have a really solid defense.”
Having Larson in the back, winning virtually every header, makes Bellarmine coach Joe Waters’ job easier.
“He was huge,” Waters said. “He’s been like that for us all year when he’s played. He just commands the air all over the field. It’s a huge plus for us to have a player like that. (Our defense) is all committed, they’re all tough. They have a good attitude. They work and they try to keep mistakes to a minimum. They’re going to make the other team beat them.”
Getting a goal early took some of the pressure off the Lions and shifted it to the Gig Harbor players, Waters said.
“The boys have worked their tails off against a very committed team and have won the league with a 1-0 game,” Waters said. “It says a lot about our character, courage and our pride.”
While Gig Harbor was unable to find the back of the net once again against the Lions, Tides coach Todd Northstrom was pleased with the effort from his team.
“I felt like we were a lot more offensive this game than the last one. I was proud of my boys. They came out with some fire today, and that hasn’t always been the case this season. When they got challenged, they pushed back. … I felt like we got better today.”
In second-half stoppage time, Gig Harbor senior Andrew Cave made contact with a Bellarmine defender and went down in the box. Gig Harbor’s players and coaches felt a penalty was deserved, but the referee didn’t see a foul.
“I thought it was a penalty,” Northstrom said. “That was not one of the strong points of (the referee’s) career there.”
Gig Harbor settled for second place in the Narrows 4A with the loss. Bellarmine has cruised through the Narrows this season, and Waters said this year’s team is one of his best ever.
“This team stacks up with the best of them,” Waters said. “Now, the thing is, can they find it in themselves to go deep into the tournament? That’s really what’s the difference between the good teams and the very good teams. … We’re a year older and more seasoned and I think what a little bit of luck, there could be something good that happens for us.”