SPOKANE - "It was an emotional loss, knowing we were a strong team and had a good year," Sunnyside soccer coach David Guevara said of this past Saturday's Regional match against Mt. Spokane.
The Grizzlies lost 1-0 to the Wildcats at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.
"It was a tough match...I think the long week of travel took its toll," said Guevara.
Mt. Spokane scored the lone goal in the 22nd minute of the loser-out, winner-to-State match. Jack Gularte of the Wildcats scored unassisted.
The Grizzlies, however, didn't go down without a fight. They outshot Mt. Spokane 12-6, but couldn't capitalize on the opportunities.
"We had more shots on goal, but the turf was difficult to adjust to," said Guevara.
He said the Grizzlies were focused on playing the best they possibly could and that boosted their chances at the end of the season.
"We had a rough beginning," Guevara said of the season.
He said the real change became evident when the Grizzlies defeated Eastmont last month.
"They were undefeated and we beat them," said Guevara.
Of this past Saturday, he said Mt. Spokane had an advantage over Sunnyside. That advantage was a combination of knowing how quick soccer can be played on turf and the game being played on the Wildcats' home field.
"Spokane had the upper hand," Guevara said.
Sunnyside keeper Christian Vargas recorded four saves, and Mt. Spokane's keeper denied the Grizzlies seven times this past Saturday.
Following the 1-0 loss, he said the Grizzlies talked about how they had grown to play as a family.
"The biggest benefit of the season is we played as a team, with an overall effort on the part of everyone...there weren't any standouts," Guevara said.
That, he added, gives Sunnyside a strong foundation from which to build next season.
He said the team is saddened to know it will be losing some skilled seniors, but knows that with the efforts of the coaching staff and those who gained experience this season there will be much strength in the Grizzlies next year.
"Everyone seems to work stronger together," said Guevara, stating there will be challenges with adjusting to a new league next season. However, he is confident those challenges can be faced head on.
"The key pieces are there," he said.
The Grizzlies' season ended with a 10-9-1 record overall.