High School Sports

Gig Harbor soccer beats Wilson in penalty kick shootout to advance to district championship

Gig Harbor’s Logan Kinney discusses district win over Wilson

Gig Harbor’s Logan Kinney discusses district win over Wilson
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Gig Harbor’s Logan Kinney discusses district win over Wilson

As if a penalty kick shootout wasn’t stressful enough on its own, Thursday night’s West Central III/Southwest bidistrict Class 3A semifinal game between Gig Harbor and Wilson received an extra layer of drama.

Gig Harbor senior keeper Blaze Manglona had just made the game-winning save on Wilson’s fourth penalty attempt, and the Tides’ players were jumping in jubilation. And then the referee’s whistle sounded, and the official ruled Manglona had come off his line.

The joyful celebration turned into disbelief. But ultimately, it didn’t matter, as Gig Harbor already held a 3-1 shootout at advantage at that point. And after the reversal, the Wilson taker missed the retry attempt, sealing the win for the Gig Harbor Tides.

“It just takes the wind out of the sails,” Ross said of the official’s call. “It’s just very deflating.”

While the second celebration following the controversy was more subdued than the initial celebration, the result was the same: Gig Harbor was through to the district championship game.

“I was thinking, ‘Come on, man. Do we have to do this two times?’” Gig Harbor midfielder Nate Jones said. “But it’s OK, it’s just soccer, that’s just how it goes.”

Jones, who has played all over the field for the Tides this season, played a more attacking role in this game and delivered one of the game’s biggest moments. Down 1-0 in the 76th minute, with just four minutes to play, Jones surged through the box, dragging a defender with him, and was eventually dragged down on the right side, earning a penalty kick for Gig Harbor. His teammate, Logan Kinney, took the shot from the spot and scored, tying the game, 1-1.

Kinney, one of the top defenders in the Class 3A South Sound Conference the past couple seasons, didn’t feel much pressure.

“I felt calm, felt confident,” he said.

Gig Harbor was trailing because of a spectacular, improbable goal from Wilson in the first half. Rams’ senior Mathdan Yel had some space from close to 30 yards out in the 37th minute and let it rip, sending a screamer into the top-left corner of the goal.

It was a goal so good, it even drew a high-five or two from some Gig Harbor players on the way back to the center circle.

“That was fantastic,” said Gig Harbor coach Joe Ross. “Congratulations to him. We gave him the space, he saw it, he knew the wind was blowing at his back and it was worth the opportunity. You can’t hit the ball any better. The three-inch space he had to get it past Blaze’s fingers, he got it there. Congratulations on that, that’s a fantastic kick.”

But when it came down a penalty kick shootout, Gig Harbor’s players felt confident. Kinney took the first shot and made it, putting the Tides up 1-0 in the shootout. Then Wilson’s Jacob Martinez missed for the Rams, followed by a Nate Jones make for Gig Harbor, putting the Tides up 2-0. Wilson’s Mathdan Yel followed it with a make, giving the Rams a point, but Gig Harbor’s Cole Dimatteo made his shot, putting the Tides up 3-1.

Wilson’s TJ Lewis and Gig Harbor’s Ben Lazar both came up short, keeping the score at 3-1, before Wilson’s Silas Bruner stepped up and the controversy ensued.

For Gig Harbor — a team that has had some trouble scoring goals this season — the relentless attitude going forward in the second half made Ross proud.

“We just said we’re going to keep playing, keep going at them,” Ross said. “Everyone has to support each other. We’re one team working together, and good things will happen. We kept knocking on the door, the hard work in those guys got us a PK and got us a tying goal. … We forget sometimes that this is a team sport. You make a mistake, someone else is there to pick you up. I think the second half demonstrated what this team can do as a team.”