GRANDVIEW — The Greyhounds soccer team (6-3, 9-3-1) closed out their regular season schedule against Toppenish (8-1, 12-3-1) at Rich Leenhouts Stadium on Wednesday evening, after two fiercely contested, back-to-back conference games.
For the first time this season, the ‘Hounds lost two consecutive games, both were 1-0 scores and finished third in Central Washington Athletic Conference (CWAC).
“We had two tough games and got screwed in Othello last (Tuesday) night. And, we had to turn around back-to-back games and didn’t play well here today,” Varsity Head Coach Anne Holden stated after a tough loss and giving her team an inspirational speech for a new day one of playoff focus and preparation.
“We’re just going to have a harder mindset and work harder than everybody else,” junior forward Carlos Saucedo expressed. “I don’t think we understand what it means to win, so we like have to try harder.”
Holden didn’t make any excuses and was proud of how they continued to threaten the Wildcats during the course of the match, while maintaining their intensity on both offense and defense.
“They jumped our defensive and midfield lines and were just going long ball. And, so it was counterattacks. We knew they were going to do that, and we had to be ready,” coach said.
At the 2:16 mark, Toppenish scored in stride on a powerful crossing shot from the left wing, which sophomore goal keeper Jose Corona had no chance to defend as the ball struck the right side of the net with authority, opening the game.
“We need to just take our shots and take our chances because we’re not doing that,” Saucedo added.
When the two teams played one another for the first time this season on March 23 at Toppenish, they battled to a 0-0 tie.
“We’ve got some very talented offensive players who normally are so savvy about whether I’m going to shoot or pass. A couple of times when we’ve got somebody driving to the top of the box, we’re expecting a shot and not necessarily a pass,” Holden acknowledged.
Throughout the game, the Wildcats continued to challenge Corona with shots on goal as he made close range saves that kept the ‘Hounds within striking distance.
Grandview coaches alerted their players to be both mentally and physically ready for this game because it was going to be a challenge.
“I couldn’t make that many runs. When I would try to, I would just cash myself out,” senior defender Jose Garcia described as he felt fatigued from the Othello game. “I had to trek all the way back, and that’s difficult too, because you go all the way up and as a defender, you have to drop all the way back to make sure they don’t counterattack.”
According to Grandview coaches, the Wildcats out-worked and out-hustled the ‘Hounds as they played with a more sustained desire and aggressiveness to win the long ball the from the start.
“They just played better… they were physical and smart. All of them have speed,” junior midfielder Mario Jacobo noted.
“We’ve got to stick to our game plan. Our game is we play with a tight midfield. And, our game is to not have those midfielders trying to hold onto the ball too long. It’s to use the outside guys to release the pressure, so that we can then re-attack in two different areas,” Holden acknowledged.
The ‘Hounds begin preparing for the 2A CWAC playoffs and their first-round single elimination match on Tuesday, April 30, at Grandview High School.