Saturday's opening round Regional soccer game between Sunnyside and West Valley-Spokane was sort of anti-climatic, but this Tuesday's go-around for the Grizzlies should be a doozy.
Sunnyside, the Mid-Valley League's No. 3 seed, laid a whipping on the Eagles, the No. 2 seed out of the Greater Spokane League, winning 13-1.
Junior Garcia, the reigning Mid-Valley League player of the year, was a dominating figure for the Grizzlies. The junior forward scored six goals and had three assists.
Garcia had the first goal of the game off an assist by Kyle Van de Graaf at the fourth minute. Diego Mendoza scored at the 13th minute for the Grizzlies from an assist by Mario De La Torre. Garcia was involved with the Grizzlies' next four goals in the first half. Garcia scored from an assist by Silvano Ramos at the 16th minute. Ramos then scored with some help from Garcia at the 25th minute. Garcia then scored at the 27th minute with an assist going to Ramos. The final goal of the first half was at the 40th minute when Garcia scored off an assist by German Torres.
The second half didn't get any better for the Eagles, as the Grizzlies weren't even trying all that hard to score.
Garcia and De La Torre scored at the 47th minute to open the second half. De La Torre then scored from an assist by Luis Galvan at the 52nd minute. Galvan then scored off a penalty kick at the 55th minute. Galvan scored the 10th goal for the Grizzlies at the 58th minute with an assist going to Garcia. Miguel Galvan scored with some help from Joel Jimenez at the 63rd minute. Garcia scored his final goal of the game at the 67th minute with an assist by Van de Graaf. Sunnyside freshman Hugo Morales scored off an assist by Garcia right at the end of the game.
Austin Bauman scored West Valley-Spokane's only goal at the 65th minute.
Not including the goals, Sunnyside outshot West Valley-Spokane 13 to 6 on goal.
Grizzly keeper Johnny Hernandez had three saves. West Valley-Spokane goalie Landon Page had nine saves.
Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda said West Valley-Spokane started out playing strong, but after Sunnyside scored a couple of goals the Eagles faded.
"They were having a hard time moving the ball up field on us," said Pineda. "Our midfield was stealing the ball from them."
Pineda said his players really stepped it up on Saturday.
"Everybody out on the field just seemed to be playing stronger," said Pineda. "They picked up their game."
As far as Garcia's performance, Pineda said the Eagles simply didn't have anyone who could keep up with the multi-talented Grizzly forward.
Tuesday's game between Sunnyside and Hanford should be outstanding. The Falcons won the Mid-Valley League title, but their only league loss was to Sunnyside. Hanford enters Tuesday's game after whipping Prosser 6-0.
One thing going in the Grizzlies' favor is their past record against the Falcons. In the past two years, Sunnyside has only lost once out of four games to Hanford.
"We have done well against them," said Pineda.
Pineda said Sunnyside will need to stop Hanford from crossing attacks to be successful. The Grizzlies also need to score first to set the tone of the game, said Pineda.
"I think the boys are hungry," said Pineda.
Tuesday's game is at 4 p.m. at Hanford High School. The winner of that game receives an automatic bid to the State tournament and will play in the Regional championship game on Saturday. The loser of Tuesday's game will face the loser of the West Valley-Yakima-Cheney game this Saturday for the third and final spot to State.
. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org