SELAH - The 3A Sunnyside Grizzly boys soccer team got back on the winning track last night with a 3-2 non-league win at 2A Selah.
Sunnyside (1-6, 4-6) had lost an unprecedented six matches in a row heading into Tuesday's contest.
The Grizzlies broke through with a goal four minutes before the first half whistle when Javier Contreras scored on an assist by Brian Galvan.
That put Sunnyside up 1-0 at the half and the Grizzlies never looked back, scoring again in the 46th minute when Alfredo Gomez found the back of the net on an assist by Jesus Solis.
Galvan made it a 3-0 game just seven minutes later, scoring what proved to be the winning goal on an assist by Nick Steckler.
"We had good control of the game and I made substitutions to give people minutes," said Grizzly Coach Juan Pineda. "We were hungry for the win, but wanted to gain confidence for our players."
The host Vikings took advantage of the Sunnyside substitutions with goals in the 55th minute and another just three minutes before the final whistle.
Pineda said Selah never threatened to tie after gaining its second goal of the match.
Sunnyside scored all three of its goals in about a 20-minute stretch starting late in the first half.
"I think it was just a matter of finding a good rhythm," Pineda said of the game-deciding outburst. "Towards the end of the first half we developed a much better chemistry. The kids in the second half came out hungrier, they had enough of losing."
Pineda credited the play of his captains as a key to the win.
"We had stellar performances from the captains, with Nick Steckler dictating play from the middle, Brian Galvan had strong offensive runs, Jordan Esqueda was our steady eddy."
The coach also praised the play of his keeper, freshman Ediberto Garcia. "He had a great game for us," Pineda said. Garcia recorded seven saves on the night. On offense, the Grizzlies had 13 shots on goal.
Pineda said the win not only throws the monkey off Sunnyside's back, it marks a new beginning for his team.
"They know it's a new season now, they want to pick it up," Pineda said of his players. "They are recognizing that harder work is required. Our captains are speaking up more."
The momentum comes at a good time, as Sunnyside travels to 4A Richland this coming Saturday.
"It was a huge win for us. It transformed the kids' attitude," Pineda said. "It feels good to be back."