If coaches don't believe their athletes will perform them when asked, they should look no further than last night's Sunnyside High School boys soccer game.
Down 2-nil to the visiting East Valley Red Devils, Sunnyside High School boys soccer coach Juan Pineda simply told his boys that they needed two goals to finish out the first half. The Grizzlies did their coach just a little bit better, scoring five unanswered goals in a row.
The result ended up being the Grizzlies rebounding from Tuesday night's overtime loss to Hanford with a 5-2 victory over East Valley.
The game, though, wasn't as easy as the final score might indicate, but was still a solid win for Sunnyside over a quality Red Devils squad.
"They have a really good system in place," said Pineda.
The Grizzlies started the game out strong, attacking the Red Devils in the first few minutes.
But East Valley was able to switch the momentum of the game behind the strong play of forward Jose Espinoza.
Espinoza scored at the ninth minute to put the Grizzlies on their toes and then seemingly delivered a knockout blow at the 20th minute of the first half, assisting teammate Cameron Mutleston.
"Those were good goals," said Pineda. "Their forward was fast."
Pineda said it was just a few minor lapses by his young defensive unit that allowed East Valley to make some runs at the Grizzlies.
After rebounding from the shock of the two quick goals by the Red Devils, the Grizzlies responded with some encouragement from their coach.
Sunnyside's Junior Garcia and his team went to work. With some help from freshman Matt Jongsma, Garcia belted in Sunnyside's first goal in the mix of a handful of East Valley defenders at the 29th minute. Jongsma then scored at the 38th minute off an assist from Garcia via a throw-in.
Off an assist from Diego Reyes, Garcia put the Grizzlies up for good, scoring at the fourth minute of the second half. Then at the 71st minute, Sunnyside's German Torres scored off an assist from Garcia. Garcia then scored the final goal of the game at the 74th minute from an assist by Sam Balverde.
The Grizzlies outshot East Valley 17 to 13 on goal. Despite giving up the two goals, Sunnyside sophomore keeper Sam Wise had a solid game, recording seven saves, as did East Valley's goalie.
One difference in the game, said Pineda, came when he moved Miguel Galvan to play defense to slow down Espinoza.
The second half showed the best of what the Grizzlies are capable of doing on a soccer field. Sunnyside battered the Red Devils relentlessly, as they racked up three goals in the second half.
"I had confidence," said Pineda. "We had been arriving. Even though they were attacking us, we were attacking them."
Pineda said what impressed him most was the way his team picked up its intensity during the game.
"Once we made the adjustments to East Valley, we did fine," said Pineda. "They (Sunnyside players) stay with the system. They play for the team and that is what brings the best out of them."
The Grizzlies (3-1, 6-1) should have their hands full this Saturday at Selah.