The Sunnyside Grizzly boys soccer team may have played its best game of the season this past Saturday in a loser-out District/Regional playoff game.
Sunnyside dominated from the start in a 6-0 win over visiting Shadle Park.
The Grizzlies' Brian Galvan got the party started in the sixth minute with a goal off an assist by Jesus Solis.
"It's always good to score first, it forces the opponent to give up space and open up more. That lets us counterattack," said Grizzly Coach Juan Pineda.
Attack and counterattack the Grizzlies did to the tune of a 4-0 lead by the half.
The second first half goal came in the 12th minute with a goal by freshman Francisco Contreras, assisted by Galvan.
Sunnyside's Sergio Licona took care of the final two goals of the half, his first bending it like Beckham from 25 yards out on a free kick. "It went straight to the keeper, then swerved to the left," Pineda said of Licona's goal.
Just before the first half whistle, Licona struck again as the Grizzlies had several opportunities near the Shadle Park goal. "He got a rebound and blasted it past the keeper," said Pineda.
While Sunnyside substituted liberally late in the first half, Pineda put in his fresh starters to start the second half just in case Shadle Park mounted a comeback.
As expected, the guests did indeed come out firing in the second half.
"Shadle Park came out with a lot more intensity, they were on our side of the field a lot," Pineda said of second half play.
Galvan made sure of the outcome, though, scoring a hat trick for the day on two second half goals.
In the 50th minute Galvan scored a goal off an assist from Alfredo De La Barrera, then he struck again in the 78th minute off an assist from Contreras.
Sunnyside had 16 shots on goal for the match compared to just six for Shadle Park. Grizzly keeper Joaquin Perez recorded four saves.
That's not to say Shadle Park didn't have some opportunities, especially in the second half, as the Spokane school had several corner kicks that had to be defended in front of the Sunnyside goal.
Sunnyside's eighth win in a row moved the Grizzlies to 11-6 overall for the season, and sends the Grizzlies to the District/Regional semi-finals this coming Wednesday at 5 p.m. at East Valley of Spokane. The match will be played at Joe Albi Stadium.
The contest will also be a loser-out match, with the winner advancing to the District/Regional finals, which also serves as the first round of the State playoffs, Pineda said.
If Sunnyside wins on Wednesday it will play the winner of the West Valley/Mount Spokane semifinal. If Mount Spokane wins, then Sunnyside would host the finals, while the Grizzlies would need to travel if rival West Valley wins.
But the first matter at hand is East Valley of Spokane this Wednesday.
"One of the things I always emphasize to the players is we go one game at a time," said Pineda. "It's loser out, so we can't be over confident. One little error changes everything in these matches."