MOSES LAKE - The level of maturing the players on the Sunnyside Christian High School boys soccer team has risen to was clearly seen in last night's 3-1 loss to Moses Lake Christian Academy.
Sure, the Knights picked up their sixth league loss of the season, but it wasn't a blowout. In fact, the Knights were in the game until the very end.
SCHS suffered a 6-1 loss to the Lions on Sept. 23, and then lost to them again, 4-1, on Oct. 14.
In both those games the Knights never had a chance, this one was different.
"They played so well," SCHS Tim DeGroot said of his team. "It was the best they've played all season. I was ecstatic."
DeGroot said it was two things that made the difference in the match, spacing and anticipation.
"We have to move on the field together as a team," DeGroot explained. "Something clicked with them last night, it was unbelievable.
"They also anticipated everything. You should have seen them."
The Lions scored first in the 15th minute of play on a shot by Jacob Lightel. The Knights then shut down the Moses Lake offense the rest of the first half.
"We scared them," DeGroot exclaimed. "They certainly didn't expect to only be up 1-0 at halftime."
Five minutes into the second half SCHS got the equalizer on a nifty shot by Steven Bosma.
DeGroot said the Moses Lake keeper came out of his box a little too far when Bosma picked off a Lions' pass.
He then moved the ball down the field just a bit and chipped the ball over the keeper from 35-yards out.
"It was unbelievable," DeGroot said.
The Lions got scores in the 60th and 70th minutes of play, both by Jonathon Roberts, to secure the game, but the Knights kept trying.
Knights' teammates Steven Broersma and Min Lee both had shots bounce off the posts in the second half.
Nathan Groenewold recorded 14 saves for SCHS. Stephan McNamara had six saves for the Lions.
SCHS and Moses Lake each had 10 shots on goal.
The Knights (2-6, 4-11) will meet Riverside Christian in the first round of the playoffs on Thursday, Oct. 30, at 4 p.m. in Yakima. If SCHS can get past the Crusaders they will play Moses Lake Christian again this coming Saturday.
"We're feeling good about Thursday, especially now that they (Knights) understand it," DeGroot said.