Freshman Ashley Wright scored in the 76th minute to give the Tides a 2-1 win over the Cougars for the Class 3A state soccer title.
PUYALLUP — It was the smallest player on the field who put the biggest dagger in the hearts of the Holy Names soccer team.
Freshman Ashley Wright, all 4-foot-10½ of her, stretched her diminutive frame for the game-winning goal in the 76th minute to give Gig Harbor its first state title and an undefeated season with a come-from-behind 2-1 win on Saturday afternoon in the Class 3A state championship match at Sparks Stadium.
The Cougars (16-7-1), a surprise finalist, were making just their second appearance in a state-title match, and it was the first time since they won in 1999.
“Our girls got a little frantic when Gig Harbor’s first goal went in,” said Holy Names coach Julianna Sackeyfio, whose team rode a five-match win streak into the final. “The window was closing, and they got a lot of momentum under them with that first goal. I’m so proud of these girls. They stepped up and battled, and they’ve realized what it means to play together and what it means to play for one another.
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“The biggest takeaway for us is that we can’t have any moments where we turn off.”
When Gig Harbor (23-0-0) seized its big moment, it might only have been a brief Cougars’ lapse that caused it.
“It sucks,” Sackeyfio said. “To see how hard our seniors worked this season and put into this program. It hurts for them. I just wanted them to have the best.”
Wright put the Tides in front 2-1 in the 76th minute as the forward hit a 13-yard shot across the field and into the far left corner of the net after a pass from Alyssa Gray. Two Holy Names defenders were in the area when Wright fired and scored.
“I saw that the defender had a big touch, so I went right to (the ball),” Wright said. “I was like, ‘We’re not going to get another opportunity like this.’ So I had to finish it. It felt so good to get it in the net.”
The Cougars were in control earlier and carried that edge 20 minutes into the second half.
Sophomore Julia Causbie spun left as a Gig Harbor defender fell to the turf, hammering a curving left-footed shot from 19 yards out into the far upper left corner of the net to give Holy Names a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
The Tides knotted the match at 1-1 when Gray got free up the left side and hammered a shot toward the goal off Holy Names defender Megan DeTuerk and into the middle of the net in the 60th minute.
Kamiakin (19-2-2) claimed third place for the second year in a row as senior Maddie Morgan netted a pair of goals, including a career capper in the 73rd minute, in a 3-0 win over Prairie.
Prairie (13-7-3) tied its best state finish with fourth place, matching the program’s 2010 finish.