EAST WENATCHEE - It wasn't the way the Sunnyside High School soccer team wanted to end its season, but the Grizzlies fell to Eastmont last night (Thursday) 2-0 in the opening round of the playoffs.
Sunnyside Coach Juan Pineda said his team had plenty of chances to score, but that just made last night's loss a little more unbearable.
"We were attacking well," he said. "We fought for a good 20 minutes in the middle of the first half. We couldn't do much damage after that."
In very windy conditions both teams were unable to score in the first half. The Grizzlies took their shots, but each went wide. Sunnyside's ability to penetrate the Wildcats' defenses allowed the Grizzly forwards to cross the ball towards Eastmont's goal, but each scoring attempt was thwarted.
During the half Eastmont made adjustments to what Sunnyside was doing. The Wildcats' coach moved two of his top offensive players to the back to help with their defense. The move helped out Sunnyside early in the second half, as the Grizzlies were able to penetrate and attack even more.
"We were all over them for 15 minutes," Pineda said. "We had them dizzy, but we couldn't punch."
The Grizzlies had three direct kicks during that time, but were unable to get off good kicks. Twice the Grizzlies hesitated, costly Sunnyside possible goals.
During one such attempt, Sunnyside's Alfredo Gomez found himself in front of the Eastmont keeper. When Daniel Romero came out strong to meet Gomez, the Sunnyside player hesitated before he kicked his shot, allowing Romero to get a finger on the ball and deflect it.
Another golden opportunity for Sunnyside to score was again doomed by hesitation when an Eastmont defender was able to deflect a shot at an open goal.
The Wildcats finally scored in the 57th minute when Joel Villa picked up a ball deflected by a Sunnyside player in front of the Grizzlies' goal. He shot and scored.
Eastmont got another goal in the 79th minute when Carlos Cardenas took a shot from 35 yards out and scored.
The Grizzlies managed eight shots on goal in last night's contest. Eastmont recorded five shots. Sunnyside keeper Eddie Garcia saved two goals. Romero had six saves for Eastmont.
The loss ends Sunnyside's season with a record of 7-9-1.
"I'm happy with my kids," Pineda said. "This team was a team that was brave enough to play outside the box. They were able to do different functions for a much more competitive system. I'm very happy with them. They gave it their all."