KENNEWICK - Juan Pineda, coach of the Sunnyside boys soccer team, said his team's goal for the second half of the season is to beat everyone who beat the Grizzlies in the first half of the season.
Last Saturday, Sunnyside did just that with a 2-1 win over the Kamiakin Braves.
"The first team that beat us was West Valley and we got them back," Pineda said. "Our second loss was to Kamiakin and we got them back, too. How can I not love our team that plays with a lot of pride and determination regardless of who is missing, injured or ineligible."
Pineda said it was his younger players who stepped up Saturday, giving props to Jordan Esqueda and Jesus Solis.
Sunnyside scored first in the 13th minute to go up 1-0. Sunnyside's Daniel Valencia found Alex Aguilar streaking past Kamiakin's defenders. Valencia fed Aguilar the ball, who chipped it over the keeper for a goal.
Pineda said his team was rubbing shoulders with every Brave who approached Sunnyside's goal, which frustrated Kamiakin and made them change their game plan. The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Pineda said his team continued to frustrate Kamiakin by playing very tight and keeping the Braves' best player, Levi Gunion, away from the Sunnyside goal.
In the 68th minute of the match Valencia beat a mid fielder and ran in front of Kamiakin's defense. He made a move on a defender and created a hole, where he found Aguilar on the right side of the field. Aguilar made a move on the keeper and passed to Solis, who softly put the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead late in the game.
Kamiakin was able to score in the 72nd minute but the Grizzlies held on for the win.
Pineda said Solis was pulled up from the JV squad for this game.
"What a night for him," he said. "He scored the winning goal for us."
Sunnyside (6-4, 8-4) will travel to Kennewick Tuesday, April 24, for a 7 p.m. game with Southridge.