Standing in disbelief, trying to hide the pure panic that had settled in on the Stadium High School boys’ soccer sideline, first-year coach Adam Becker could only watch.
The Tigers played beautiful soccer in the first half to run out to a big lead.
And in the second half, it all changed.
But in the end, a few keep-away ploys helped the Tigers hold off Gig Harbor, 3-2, in a Narrows League 4A showdown at Stadium Bowl on Tuesday night.
Max Harvey tallied a pair of first-half goals for Stadium, which built a 3-0 lead. But the Tides thoroughly dominated the second half, getting goals from Davis McCall and Tanner Stepp to put a scare in the home team.
Surviving, Stadium (9-1, 6-1 in Narrows 4A) and defending league champion Central Kitsap (7-1, 6-1), a 4-1 winner at Bellarmine Prep, are tied atop the standings. Both schools appear on a collision course for the league title May 7 in Silverdale.
Stadium’s last Narrows League title came in 2009-10.
“As long as we can piece together 60 to 70 minutes a game, we will be fine,” Becker said.
Stadium got all of its goals right in front of the Tides’ goal in the first half. The bigger Tigers were patient and had the upper hand with ball control. Harvey scored in the third and 23rd minutes, and Garrett Harp made it 3-0 when he converted a putback in the 35th minute just off the right post.
As soon as McCall converted a header in the 46th minute for Gig Harbor’s first score, the complete complexion of the match changed. From then on, the Tides (8-2, 5-2) applied the pressure – and outshot Stadium, 9-3, in the final 40 minutes.
Stepp converted a shot right in front of the goal in the 62nd minute on a pass from Jon Brown, and Stadium’s lead was cut to 3-2.
Stadium did a good job of closing the Tides’ attack down in the final minutes to get a hard-earned victory.