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Grizzlies fall to West Valley, end up with #3 seed

WAPATO - After splitting two games during the regular season, the Sunnyside Grizzlies and the West Valley Rams met again, this time on a neutral field, to decide who would be the #2 seed in the playoffs.

The teams played two 10-minute halves and ended up with a 0-0 score at the end of the game.

"We were really penetrating," Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda said. "We just needed a few more minutes and we could have scored."

In the first half West Valley played conservatively. Sunnyside on the other hand started attacking immediately and within a minute they were taking shots at the goal.

"We attacked but the keeper made a couple of good saves," Pineda said.

In the second half the Grizzlies had two opportunities to score. Twice they had two-on-one situations but couldn't capitalize. "We dominated 80 percent of the match," Pineda said.

After a scoreless two halves the teams went to a shootout. Each team picked five players and each player had one chance at a direct kick.

Miguel Lugo, Matt Jongsma, Brian Galvan, Alex Aguilar and Luis Perez of Sunnyside all went in front of the keeper and put in their shots. All five Rams players did the same and the shootout was tied at 5-5.

Sunnyside sent Joaquin Perez up for the sixth shot.

"Perez is a freshman who does really well in practice," Pineda said. "He stepped up and volunteered to go out there."

Perez hit the ball well but it missed outside by inches. "I think he needed to go through this experience to grow as a player," Pineda explained. "He will be very important to this team in the future."

West Valley's player hit his penalty kick and the Rams won the shootout 6-5 to take the #2 seed into the playoffs.

"We're content," Pineda said. "We know we have a good team. I would have preferred to win last night but we're in the playoffs. This loss will make us hungrier. It doesn't taste like a loss. We did fine, we were just unfortunate in the shootout."

The Grizzlies will play Prosser in a loser-out affair in Sunnyside Saturday, May 6, at 1 p.m. The teams split their two regular seasons games this season with Prosser winning the first game 4-2 and Sunnyside beating the Mustangs in the second game 5-1.

"We have respect for Prosser," Pineda said. "I believe we're a better team but this is the playoffs. Anything can happen."

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