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Grizzlies ground the Falcons

WEST RICHLAND - The Sunnyside High School boys soccer team brought Hanford's undefeated jaunt through the Mid-Valley League to a crushing end last night.

The Grizzlies took the Falcons to a shootout, winning 2-1.

Sunnyside (8-3, 10-3) travels to Ellensburg this coming Saturday.

The win was crucial for the Grizzlies coming off this past Saturday's shootout loss to West Valley.

"The boys played well," said Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda of last night's game.

There were several notable moments in Sunnyside's victory last night worth mentioning.

The Grizzlies had to play the last 15 minutes and both five-minute overtime periods with only 10 players, instead of 11. One of Sunnyside's players received a red card late in regulation play, forcing the Grizzlies to play a man down.

After a scoreless first half, the Grizzlies came out strong to start the last period of play. Sunnyside's Luis Galvan scored at the 13th minute of the second half when he skimmed a ball over a wall of Hanford defenders and had it kiss the side of the post, getting just past the Falcon keeper.

"Their keeper couldn't block it," said Pineda.

The Falcons scored eight minutes later on a Grizzly defensive miscue. With one of Sunnyside's top defenders, Diego Mendoza, sitting on the sidelines, the Grizzlies failed to clear a ball in time that the Falcons were able to boot in past keeper Johnny Hernandez.

It was at the 65th minute when Sunnyside was forced to play with only 10 boys after one of the Grizzly players was given a red card for an aggressive play against Hanford.

Pineda said he changed his strategy once Sunnyside was forced to go a man down in the game. Pineda dropped everyone but forward Junior Garcia towards the defensive side of the field. Pineda said Garcia looked solid taking on the Hanford defense by himself.

Pineda was also impressed with the way his entire team responded against Hanford. Pineda said the Grizzlies did a good job of playing on the longer and wider Hanford field. The Falcons' field is 20 feet longer and wider than Sunnyside's.

"Hanford is used to getting a lot of space," said Pineda. "We had to cover a lot of field."

Pineda said what worked well for his team was that the Grizzlies were able to link well with a series of short touches to develop attacks.

After two scoreless five-minute overtime periods, the game went to a shootout. Galvan, Garcia and Mario De La Torre made the first three shootout goals for Sunnyside. Hanford also made their first three attempts. Both Hanford and Sunnyside missed their final two shots. After the first series of five shots were taken, the Grizzlies and Falcons went goal for goal in the shootout. Hanford's sixth shot on goal hit the keeper's bar and bounced out. Mendoza then caused the Hanford keeper to switch up and booted the ball past him to give the Grizzlies the victory.

The key in the shootout for Sunnyside, though, was Hernandez. Hernandez didn't have a particularly stellar outing in Saturday's shootout with the Rams, but was on last night.

"He looked more eager. He looked more into this shootout," said Pineda. "He wasn't as passionate (on Saturday). He gave us a lot of motivation. He was determined."

Hanford outshot Sunnyside 10 to 8 on goal. Hernandez had eight saves while Hanford's keeper finished with five. The Falcons also had two of their defenders credited with a save apiece.

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