WAPATO - The Sunnyside High School boys soccer team came back in grand fashion last night against Wapato.
The Grizzlies scored six goals in the second half to bury the Wapato Wolfpack, 7-2.
"I have a lot of respect for Wapato," said Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda, who used to work with the Wolfpack coach when he was involved with the Toppenish High School soccer program. "They fought us well."
The Grizzlies just couldn't find any holes in the Wolfpack defense in the first half of last night's game, as both teams finished tied at one.
Miguel Logo scored the first goal for the Grizzlies off an assist from Junior Garcia at the 10th minute. The only other goal of the first half was by Wapato at the 12th minute off a shot from Daniel Casarez.
Sunnyside then exploded on the Wolfpack in the second half. Garcia scored the first of four goals at the 43rd minute off a penalty kick. He later scored at the 47th minute off an assist from Miguel Galvan. Garcia recorded a hat trick when he scored his third goal at the 53rd minute off an assist from Alex Aguilar. Garcia's last goal was off a long run, where he put the ball in unassisted at the 64th minute. Garcia also lended a hand to some of his teammates. Garcia provided the assist on teammate Jose Ramos' goal at the 63rd minute. The Grizzlies' final goal was from a play by Hugo Morales off an assist from Matt Jongsma at the 78th minute.
Wapato scored its only goal of the second half at the 58th minute off a shot from Roy Lopez that was assisted by Alex Macias.
Pineda was pleased with the effort of his star player, Garcia, who hadn't scored for the Grizzlies in a couple of games.
"It is good to have Junior back," said Pineda.
Sunnyside out shot Wapato 16 to 12 on goal, but the Wolfpack did keep Grizzly keeper Sam Wise busy, as he finished with 11 saves.
"They arrived a lot," said Pineda.
In the first half, Wapato was putting a lot of pressure on the midfield of the Grizzlies. Pineda said Wapato was able to attack the Grizzlies by pushing their defenders up field.
"The first half was a close game," said Pineda. "The game was going up and down."
Pineda said he simply told his players at the break that they were going to have to pick things up because Wapato wasn't going to hand them anything.
And pick it up is just what the Grizzlies did, as they developed an unrelenting attack on the Wolfpack.
"We were not letting them think," said Pineda. "That prevented them from connecting with one another."
The Grizzly coach said his feels his team learned a valuable lesson from its less than stellar outing this past Tuesday night against Ellensburg.
"As a team, everybody learned a lesson that we can't play to an opponent's level," he said.
The Grizzlies (6-1, 9-1) are going to have their hands full this Saturday in what should be a great game against visiting West Valley beginning at noon at the high school football field.
Sunnyside and Hanford have handed the Rams their only Mid-Valley League losses of the year. The Grizzlies will need to win on Saturday to stay within a game of Hanford, which beat Sunnyside earlier this year, in hopes of contesting for the Mid-Valley League title. The Grizzlies and the Falcons will meet in Richland for their regular season finale on Saturday, April 30.
Pineda is encouraging the community to come out and support Sunnyside in what he is anticipating to be another classic game between the two teams.
"West Valley is coming out to avenge their loss," said Pineda. "I want to get this win."