It appeared that the Sunnyside Christian High School boys soccer team had its first Greater Columbia 'B' League victory of the season all wrapped up yesterday.
But seven minutes before the final whistle was set to blow, Trout Lake's Mark Poland tied the contest at 2-2 off a penalty kick. The Mustangs then got an unassisted goal from Peter Schmid in the final minute of the game to give visiting Trout Lake an unlikely 3-2 victory.
"It was a huge blow after leading Trout Lake for more than half the game," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Russ Smies.
"We had been tasting a victory for almost the entire second half," he continued. "To lose in the final minutes of the game like that, yes, it was a little disappointing.
"But in looking at things overall, we're playing much better than we did last season," Smies said. "The kids are improving and we're finding ourselves in a lot more games this year."
Trout Lake opened Tuesday's contest by grabbing a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute of the game. Kris Huffsmith scored the goal for the Mustangs.
Five minutes before the first half was to end, Sunnyside Christian's Micah Koopmans responded with a rebound score.
The scoring opportunity developed when Matt Haak took a direct kick at the Mustang net from about 25 yards out. The Trout Lake goalkeeper made a diving save on the shot, but was unable to corral the ball.
"The ball bounced out and Micah crashed in and got the rebound, blasting it into the net," said Smies. "Tying the game up at 1-1 was quite a boost for our team."
The Knights got an even bigger boost four minutes later, right before intermission, when Haak snuck a whistling penalty kick past the Trout Lake goalie. The shot, from 12 yards out, was a 1-on-1 situation between Haak and the Mustang goalkeeper.
"Their goalie dove the right way, but Matt put the shot in the corner of the net, just inside the post, where Trout Lake's goalkeeper couldn't get to," Smies explained.
Haak's goal gave Sunnyside Christian a 2-1 lead.
The two clubs exchanged drives in the second half, but neither team was able to finish off any of the plays.
"We ran with them the whole second half," Smies said. "Our kids were playing some great soccer."
Trout Lake was able to knot the game at two-all, though, after a Mustang on a fastbreak got past the Knights' fullbacks and sweeper Luke Marx had to storm in with a sliding tackle. Unfortunately for Sunnyside Christian, Marx was whistled for tripping the player. On the ensuing penalty kick, Poland blasted in the game tying goal.
"You can't blame Luke for the penalty," said Smies. "He's saved a lot of goals for us this season. The position he plays, the last line of defense before the ball reaches our goalie, getting whistled for a penalty is an occupational hazard. You can't fault him on the play."
Schmid, six minutes later, then booted in the game winner for the Mustangs from the middle of the field.
Yesterday's loss dropped the Knights' league record to 0-3, 4-5 overall. Sunnyside Christian is out of action until next Tuesday, when the Knights travel to take on league unbeaten Moses Lake.