TOPPENISH - After starting the season with three straight losses the Grandview Greyhounds have seemingly turned things around.
The defending CWAC soccer champions won for the third straight time last night in Toppenish, beating the Wildcats 1-0.
The Wildcats gave Grandview everything the 'Hounds could handle in the first half of play and if not for the brilliant play of keeper Teclo Perez, the Greyhounds could have easily been staring down their fourth loss of the season. Instead, Grandview Coach Anne Holden said her team weathered the storm and came out swinging in the second half.
"One of the things we didn't do in the first half was take control of the mid-field," Holden explained. "We didn't work hard for the 50-50 balls and that allowed Toppenish to take a higher tempo in the game. We addressed that at halftime."
With the game scoreless in the first half Grandview took the lead for good in the second minute of the second half. Fittingly enough, the score came when the Greyhounds worked hard for a 50-50 ball and got it.
Holden said Bryan Vasquez did the honors for the 'Hounds by getting control of the loose ball.
"He did the hard work for us," she said.
Vasquez took control, and a few lumps, at mid-field and then switched the ball over to Emmanuel Aguilera, but he was soon cut off by a Toppenish defender. Aguilera then played the ball back to mid-field, where Euladio Lua took control. The center field defender then switched the ball to the left side of the field, where Jorge Magana took control of it.
Holden said Magana then laid the ball up field to Sami Villa, then turned to run towards the 18-yard box in front of the Wildcats' goal. This caused the Toppenish defenders, who thought Villa would pass off to Magana, to chase after him instead of defending Villa.
"That created enough space for Sami and he took a perfect shot," Holden said.
Villa kicked the ball, which curved around Toppenish's keeper and into the right hand corner of the goal.
"It was a great reward for our conversation at halftime," Holden said. "After that, we dictated the terms of the game."
The Greyhounds attempted to get another score but eventually settled on dropping Villa back as an extra defender.
Holden said the Wildcats had several scoring opportunities in the first half but flat out missed. Perez recorded four saves for the Greyhounds and his counterpart, Alejandro Ramirez, had five saves for the Wildcats.
Grandview took six shots on goal while Toppenish had four clean shot attempts.
Holden pointed out the play of Vasquez, whom she said totally controlled the mid-field in the second half. Perez was also given accolades, especially for the way he handled the pressure Toppenish applied in the first half.
"He's so big and has such great hands," Holden said of her keeper. "His anticipation and timing was impressive."
She also mentioned the play Villa scored on as instrumental but said the win was a team effort.
"Everyday we're getting a little more out of everybody," she added.
Grandview (2-1, 3-3) will host Selah this Thursday, April 9, at 6 p.m.