Early goals, strong defense power Tides’ victory

Contributing writerMay 1, 2014 

olympia — With a burst of speed, Edwin Brown was able to pull away from a pair of Olympia defenders before finding the net.

Sure, it was just one goal and there was plenty of time remaining — the match hadn’t even hit the four-minute mark — but even the smallest of deficits against the Gig Harbor soccer team seems huge.

The Tides’ defense is just too good.

Gig Harbor (11-1, 8-1 Narrows 4A) notched its 10th consecutive victory behind that stellar defense Wednesday, beating the Bears, 4-1, at Ingersoll Stadium. The win wrapped up the Narrows League 4A title for the Tides.

Brown’s early goal was critical against Olympia, itself a good defensive team.

“We’ve given up eight goals in 11 games,” said Olympia coach Ty Johnson. “I think giving up that early one kind of surprised us.”

The Tides have excelled on both sides of the pitch over the last four games, outscoring their opponents 22-1.

Trailing 4-0, Olympia avoided being Gig Harbor’s fourth straight shutout victim when Matt Linhart scored in the final 2 minutes.

“Gig Harbor’s a good team,” said Johnson, who said the team missed injured captain Chris Sutton against the Tides.

“There’s a reason they’ve been beating everyone and are the number one team in our league.”

The win sealed Gig Harbor’s first outright Narrows League championship.

The Tides, which entered the league during the 1997-98 school year, won three consecutive Narrows League Bridge Division crowns from 2003-2005, but lost each year to Bellarmine Prep in the league championship.

Olympia (7-3-2, 5-3-2) remains second in the standings with two games remaining.

The Bears host Stadium Tuesday before closing out the regular season with a home date against third-place Bellarmine.

“I still think we are in a great spot,” Johnson said. “We just have to take care of business next week.”

Olympia struggled to find its offense in the first half, taking three shots to Gig Harbor’s five, as the Tides jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first frame.

In addition to a stingy defense, the Tides also benefited from a little luck in the first half.

Olympia’s best scoring chance came in the 33rd minute when Ian Hesse fired a blast from the right side that zipped by Tides goalkeeper Matt Stephens, but ultimately bounced off the left post.

A goal still seemed possible as Hesse’s shot dangerously trickled in front of the goal before being secured.

The Bears held a 2-0 advantage in corner kicks in the first half.

Brown, whose goal was assisted by Davis McCall, opened up the scoring in the fourth minute.

The Tides struck again in the 21st minute on Ike Northstrom’s goal.

Jon Brown pushed Gig Harbor’s advantage to 3-0 in the 45th minute and Cooper Branham’s goal closed out the Tides’ scoring in the 70th minute. theolympian.com/southsoundsports

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