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Knights nearly nab first league win

This game will be known as the one that got away from the Sunnyside Christian High School boys soccer team.

The Knights hosted Riverside Christian yesterday and just couldn't find the consistency they needed on the field to get past the Crusaders, losing 3-2.

Sunnyside Christian Coach Russ Smies didn't feel the game was as close as the score might indicate. Smies said the Knights struggled with their play on the field.

"We are still working on playing smart," said Smies.

The Crusaders struck early when one of their top players, Trevor Pynch, scored five minutes into the game.

"That is pretty tough to respond to," said Smies.

Five minutes later Riverside Christian teammate Joey Picatti snuck one into the net to give the Crusaders a 2-0 halftime lead.

Smies said his team started to figure out Riverside Christian's style of play late in the first half and that carried over into the start of the second half.

Jordan Haak finally put Sunnyside Christian on the board three minutes into the second half.

"At that point, we thought things were going to turn around," said Smies.

But, the Crusaders fired back with a dagger that took all momentum away from Sunnyside Christian, when Riverside Christian's Justin Lovern added the deciding goal at the 54th minute.

The Knights' final goal came when Micah Koopmans booted in a penalty kick. Smies said that Koopmans was tripped inside the 18 on a play he probably would have scored on anyways.

After that, the Crusaders went into a slow down style of play in an attempt to eat up the clock, said Smies.

The Knights took four direct shots on goal while the Crusaders racked up 14. Sunnyside Christian keeper John Bosma had 11 saves.

Smies said in the first half his Knights weren't playing well.

"I don't think we were hustling as well," said Smies. "We just weren't playing a really good game."

Early in the second half, Smies liked what he saw from his team.

"We were passing. We were hustling. We were moving the ball," said Smies. "We had our heads in the game."

The Knights (0-6, 5-7) will get another shot at Riverside Christian this Friday in Yakima.

"I feel we match up well with them," said Smies. "We will see what we can do against them on Friday."

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