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Grizzlies edge Grandview in battle of rival clubs

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Grandview's Alex Guzman (L) and Sunnyside's Jesus Gudino vie for a loose ball during the Grizzlies' hard-fought 1-0 win yesterday, Thursday.

GRANDVIEW - The Sunnyside Grizzly boys soccer team made it eight years in a row without a loss to their Grandview counterparts yesterday.

But only just barely.

Thursday's non-league match between the two Lower Valley rivals ended with a 1-0 Sunnyside victory, but Grandview made all sorts of noise.

The Greyhounds had the ball on Sunnyside's half of the field for most of the first half. Grandview was presented with four solid opportunities in the first 20 minutes, with Coach Anne Holden figuring her team should have been able to come away with two scores in the half.

"It was a great game," Holden said. "It was what we expected."

Holden said her team had more opportunities than the Grizzlies but failed to capitalize on them.

Holden said her team had eight good opportunities to score in the game, four in each half.

Grandview came close to scoring a couple of times. Both Sami Villa and Euladio Lua had shots that bounced off the post. Jonathon Campuzano had a great opportunity denied by a save from the Sunnyside keeper.

The efforts went for naught, though, as the score was 0-0 at the break, as the Grizzlies played a conservative first half on offense.

That was by design, said Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda.

"We have great respect for Grandview," he said. "We only brought up one forward in the first half to see what they were going to do."

Pineda took off the reins in the second half.

On offense the Grizzlies attacked and on defense Sunnyside marked opposing players tighter. Pineda praised Jordan Esqueda, who was given the task of shutting down Grandview's top scoring threat, Sammy Villa.

Even so, Villa broke free for a golden opportunity in the opening minutes of the second half.

Villa got the ball down the right sideline and dribbled towards the Sunnyside goal He was met by Sunnyside keeper Edgar Armenta, who hit the turf to stop the ball, but couldn't hang on to it. That left Sunnyside with a momentary open net and a loose ball floating around.

Sunnyside was able to thwart the threat, and came back about five minutes later for the game's only goal as Nick Steckler delivered a rainbow shot about 18 yards away from the Grandview goal that floated into the back of the net just under the crossbar and well away from the Grandview keeper.

The 1-0 lead held up the rest of the way, but not before Grandview made some noise over the last 15 minutes of the contest.

Lua had a header off a corner kick that just missed the Sunnyside goal, and then moments later boomed a free kick just over the crossbar.

In the final five minutes it was Villa again threatening to score, as he found an opening in front of the Sunnyside goal but misfired on an equalizer attempt.

Villa fell down on the shot attempt and felt a penalty kick was in order. When none was forthcoming, he swore at the referee and was sent off with a red card, meaning he will be ineligible for Grandview's next game.

The Greyhounds played the final minutes with only nine players and without their top gun were unable to muster a last-second threat.

Though a loss, Grandview had some bright spots in the effort, particularly on defense.

"It was very solid," Holden said of her defense. "I was very happy with what we were trying to do."

There are a few things Holden said she wanted to work on with her team. The transition from offense to defense needs work. She said her team didn't keep the ball in their possession offensively enough, making it too easy for the Grizzlies to get a turnover.

"We want to work on that," Holden said. "We want to become stingier."

Holden also pointed out her team needs work on their general match fitness. She said the Greyhounds aren't at the top of their peak just yet.

These are things the Greyhounds (0-2) will try to work on during a very busy opening schedule. Grandview will travel to play Prosser on Saturday, March 21, for an 11 a.m. match. The Greyhounds then have three matches in seven days.

Sunnyside (1-0, 2-0) returns to action this Saturday at Hanford.

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