SPOKANE - The Sunnyside Grizzly boys soccer team's leading scorer, Brian Galvan, booted home the winning goal in overtime to help Sunnyside to a 1-0 victory in District/Regional semifinal play last night, Wednesday.
The Grizzlies were playing East Valley of Spokane and everything went Sunnyside's way during regulation, except on the scoreboard.
"We had been pounding their goal most of the game," said Grizzly Coach Juan Pineda. In a stretch of five minutes during the first half, for example, Sunnyside had three one-on-one chances against East Valley's keeper.
Pineda said Sunnyside came up empty handed in regulation largely because of the play of East Valley's keeper.
"We had 12 shots compared to five for them," Pineda said. "We had five clear chances that were blocked by their keeper, incredible saves. We had some shots that would have gotten in with a different keeper."
Sunnyside's defense was equally tough, and excelled at containing the East Valley attack on the back line to limit shot attempts at goal.
Pineda also credited East Valley with physical play that took Sunnyside out of its preference for a technical game of strategy, of attack and counter attack.
The two teams remained scoreless through the first five-minute overtime, and it looked like things might be headed for a shootout before Galvan struck three minutes into the second extra session.
The goal came on a penalty kick, a free one-on-one attempt from 18 yards out with only the keeper standing in the way.
The kick was set up when
Sunnyside's Nick Steckler delivered a no-look pass with the back of his heel to teammate Alfredo Gomez. The play set Gomez up with a potential close-in shot opportunity before he was taken down by an East Valley player.
That set the stage for Galvan's heroics.
"It was a goal with a lot of weight," said Pineda. "He took a rocket shot to the left side of the goal and that was the sudden death winning goal."
Sunnyside (12-6) will put a nine-game winning streak and its postseason hopes on the line this Saturday when it plays at rival West Valley for the 3A District/Regional title. The loser-out contest also serves as the first-round of State 3A boys soccer tourney play, said Pineda.
The Grizzlies are well familiar with West Valley, having lost to the Rams in a shootout earlier this season.
Pineda says last night's match will help Sunnyside prepare for the re-match.
"It will be another close match," he said. "Tonight (Wednesday at East Valley of Spokane) was a good preparation for what a high intensity playoff game it will be."