SUNNYSIDE — The Grizzlies boys high school soccer team (9-3, Big 9 and 10-3, overall) scored twice in the first half and fought off Wenatchee (8-4, 12-6) to win 2-1 in a grudge match during the opening round of the Big 9 Conference District 6 Tournament at Clem Senn Field last Tuesday evening.
“Luckily, we were able to put a ball somewhere one of our players could just put it in the back of the net and that’s kind of how we got them twice,” Head Coach David Guevara said.
In the first half at 30:22, Sunnyside senior forward Diego Gomez scored the game’s first goal on a counterattack charge from a precisely led pass over the top of Wenatchee’s defense. Gomez tracked down the centered ball into the penalty box area and in stride, drilled a kick past junior goalkeeper Logan Nelson to give the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead.
“I saw the goalie coming at me, I just took the ball and dribbled over him, and shot it,” Gomez described. “It felt great to score in the first game, playoffs, Wenatchee, here. It was amazing.”
Senior midfielder and wing player Hector Cardenas recieved a perfect give and go pass-play by freshman midfielder Mario Negerete, directly in front of the Panthers’ goal box.
The fleet footed Cardenas kicked home the Grizzlies second goal of the game and led 2-0 with 8:18 remaining in the opening half.
Sunnyside’s fast start was marred by hard hitting fouls, which led to a physical skirmish at midfield with 3:00 when Gomez got caught up in the heated moment with Wenatchee junior midfielder Carlos Viramontes.
Gomez reacted in retaliation with his arm and swung at the Panther defender, which earned him a red card and ejection from the game.
Sunnyside took a 2-0 lead going into the second half which they would grind out and hold Wenatchee to one goal scoring header at 17:21 and win 2-1.
“We really wanted it. We had that hunger, and at the end, that’s what pulled us through,” senior goalkeeper Enrique Palma explained.