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Wapato narrowly slips by Lady Grizzlies, 4-3

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Janet Barboza (3) is greeted by her Sunnyside High School teammates during introductions before last night's soccer match with Wapato.

For the first 25 minutes last night the 3A Sunnyside High School girls soccer team could do no wrong in forging a 3-0 lead over visiting 2A Wapato.

Things quickly went south from there, as did the score, in a 4-3 loss for the Lady Grizzlies.

Sunnyside has struggled this season with surrendering goals in the first few minutes play. But in a role reversal, it was Sunnyside which struck early and often during the contest's opening minutes.

Sasha Castro headed in a perfect corner kick by Teresa Ramos in the eighth minute of play to give the Lady Grizzlies a 1-0 lead.

Sunnyside freshman Ruby Herrera got in on the act in the 12th minute by finding the back of the net to vault the home team into a 2-0 lead.

Castro knocked home what would be Sunnyside's last goal of the match when she slid to retrieve a ball booted just wide of the Wapato net and flicked it in the net with her foot.

Castro's second score came in the 25th minute of play and put the Lady Grizzlies up 3-0. It could have been worse for Wapato, as Castro misfired on a rare one-on-one opportunity in front of the Wolves' net.

The Sunnyside celebration and lead were both short lived as Wapato got back in the match just a minute after Castro's second goal.

As Wapato drove toward the Sunnyside goal following Castro's strike, a Lady Grizzly was whistled for taking down a Wapato player just outside the penalty box. On the ensuing free kick, the Wolves' striker did her best David Beckham impersonation by bending the ball up past the Sunnyside line and into the upper right hand corner of the goal.

In the 28th minute, Wapato again scored on a set play, as a throw-in just left of the Sunnyside penalty box was booted in for a goal.

The Wolves knotted the contest in the 32nd minute after Sunnyside struggled to clear the ball from its own side of the field. Wapato took advantage and found nothing but net to make it 3-3 at the half.

Sunnyside Head Coach John Soule said his team regained its drive and momentum in the second half. The Lady Grizzlies nearly regained the lead, too.

"We had a ton of chances. We were well into double digits on shot attempts," Soule noted. "We had one long shot bounce off the cross bar and we had three or four really good chances in front of the goal."

Wapato delivered the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute by converting a penalty kick. Soule said the attempt resulted when a Sunnyside player tackled one of the Wolves in the penalty box in front of the Lady Grizzly goal.

Soule said Sunnyside's early success may have been what led to his squad's reversal of fortunes.

"I think that we got pretty confident," he said. "We had multiple goals and then had a big let down because we got so excited." Soule added, "It took us another 15 minutes to get the momentum back. We had the momentum for the whole second half, but we just couldn't put it in the goal."

Last night's loss may have been a disappointing result, but Soule said the Lady Grizzlies have positives to build on from the match.

"We're just going to have to look at the good things we did," he said. "We controlled the game and I think we got our forwards to be aggressive in coming back for the ball. We went after the ball and were the instigators."

Sunnyside (0-4, 0-7) will host Eastmont tomorrow, Saturday.

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