It is not too bad of a season when a team's only losses are to a group that will place in the top four at State, Cheney; the Mid-Valley League champion Hanford Falcons; and a pair of losses to one of the most prestigious boys soccer programs in the western United States, West Valley.
Entering this past Saturday's second round tournament game against Cheney for the right to move on to the 3A State soccer trophy round, the Sunnyside High School boys soccer team had to be feeling pretty good. Sunnyside had captured its first trophy of any kind, beating Cheney the week previous to win the Regional title. The Grizzlies had dismantled Hanford in the opening round of the State tournament just a few days earlier. The only thing going against the Grizzlies was the law of averages. Sunnyside was due to have a bad game. The only bad part was it came on Saturday against the Blackhawks.
Cheney advanced to the trophy round of the State soccer tournament with a 4-2 win over Sunnyside.
"We came out too confident," said Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda.
One word might best be used to describe Saturday's game and that is determined. The Blackhawks seemed a bit more determined than the Grizzlies did right from the start of the game.
Pineda said there was no big difference between Saturday's game and the last time the two teams played, except Cheney played with a lot more intensity.
"They came out a lot faster," said Pineda.
Cheney scored its first goal at the 10 minute mark when the Blackhawks caught Grizzly keeper Johnny Hernandez outside of his area at the 10th minute. Cheney sophomore Jesse Retan put a dribbler past Hernandez off an assist from Chad Thorton.
Sunnyside evened things up at the 19th minute when Junior Garcia scored on a penalty kick after a pair of Cheney defenders took down Hugo Morales.
Cheney took a 2-1 halftime lead when Adam Clayden planted a legitimate shot over Hernandez in the right side of the net at the 29th minute.
Trailing 2-1, the Grizzlies came out determined in the second half, but the offensive scheme of Sunnyside took a turn when field general Luis Galvan went down five minutes in. Galvan ended up with a bruised kidney after being kneed in the back.
Pineda said the way Sunnyside runs its offense changed after Galvan went out of the game because he sets up a number of the plays.
Jeff Davis scored at the 27th minute for the Blackhawks, which was followed by another goal from Patrick Folsom at the 38th minute.
Morales scored the final goal for Sunnyside right towards the end of the game.
Sunnyside outshot Cheney 13 to 7 on goal.
Pineda said his Grizzlies didn't play their type of game on Saturday. He said Sunnyside tried to make the game too complexed instead of sticking to their usual simple style of play, where the team connects and moves the ball.
"We didn't take advantage," said Pineda.
Towards the end of the game Sunnyside had trouble moving the ball against a stacked Cheney defense. The Blackhawks did a solid job throughout the game of moving to the ball and marking up tightly, contesting every ball.
Sunnyside finished its season 11-3 placing third in the Mid-Valley League. The Grizzlies were 17-4 overall. This year marks the most successful season Sunnyside soccer has ever had.
"It was a great season," said Pineda. "We can't judge the boys on this last game. We learned from this. Every year, our program is growing by huge steps. This gives us experience. We will do things different next year."