WEST VALLEY - Victory was within the grasp of a determined Grandview High School boys soccer team this past Saturday.
But, the Rams rallied past the Greyhounds in the second half to come away with a 3-2 Regional tournament victory, in the process bringing an end to Grandview's season.
"We could smell it (victory)," said Grandview Coach Anne Holden.
Holden compared the game to catching butterflies. Holden said when her Greyhounds took the lead in the second half it was like they caught a butterfly in their hand. She said the game then took a turn like when a person opens their hand to look at the caught butterfly to only watch it fly away.
"We have absolutely nothing to be disappointed about," said Holden. "We played very, very well. In fact, both teams played very well. It was a good game. We had our chances."
West Valley took an early 1-0 lead on a goal at the 29th minute off a set play from a free kick.
Holden said statistically the game was tightly played in the first half. West Valley outshot Grandview 4 to 3 on goal in the first half.
"West Valley had the better of the first half," said Holden.
Holden gave a fiery talk at the break, telling her team that this would be the end of its season if it couldn't respond.
The Greyhounds must have liked what they heard from their coach, as Grandview came out sizzling in the second half. Grandview's main offensive threat, Cesar Alvarez, had both of his club's goals in the second half. Alvarez scored at the 61st and 67th minutes of the game to give Grandview a 2-1 lead.
But the always resilient Rams made their usual run and found a way to score a pair of goals within a five-minute span to get the win and move on to today's winner-to-state game at Cheney. Holden said West Valley scored at the 71st minute when Grandview missed its tracking assignment on one of the Rams players. Holden said the problem she had was with what her team did after the goal was scored, basically a breakdown in communication. Holden said most of her players didn't react well to the game-tying goal and kind of let down, not realizing they were still in the game.
"It doesn't matter that you made a mistake," said Holden. "It is what you do after you make the mistake that matters."
Holden said the Rams fed off the momentum from the game-tying goal and attacked Grandview's line.
What worked for Grandview most of the second half was the Greyhounds were able to take field position away from the Rams. Through some repositioning of players, Holden's team was able to pound the ball at West Valley.
"We had them rocked," said Holden. "We had them on their heels."
Just how effective Holden's strategy was is reflective in the offensive statistics for Grandview. The Greyhounds had seven corner kicks in the second half to West Valley's one.
Holden did say there was one opportunity late in the game where a West Valley defender brought down Alvarez when he was driving on goal. Holden said she felt Alvarez would have had a good chance at scoring, but the official didn't make the call. Holden, though, pointed out again that the game wasn't decide by the officials. Holden said both she as a coach and her team weren't used to being at that level in the postseason, which came into play in how they reacted to situations.
West Valley outshot Grandview 8 to 6 on goal for the game. Juan Pacheco had five saves as Grandview keeper in his return after a head injury.
Holden said it was a pleasure for her as a coach to play in a game like Saturday's contest.
"You could smell it (victory). You could taste it," said Holden. "We gave it everything we had. We played our guts out."
Grandview finishes its last season in the Mid-Valley League with a 7-8 record, which includes Saturday's postseason loss. The Greyhounds, who return to the 2A ranks next year, finished 9-8 overall.
This summer the Grandview boys program will be taking part in four tournaments, including defending its Bulldog Bash title the Greyhounds won at a Pasco tournament last summer.