SUNNYSIDE — United together by a brotherhood bond, the Grizzlies boys soccer team (9-3,10-3,) is the Big 9 Conference champion, as well as District champion, after soundly defeating Eastmont (7-5, 11-7) 5-1 on Friday, May 10, at Clem Senn Field.
“We talk about next man up. It’s always been that way… we’re aggressive. We like to attack. Our speed is what helps us get there,” Co-head Coach David Guevara said as he described how the team’s chemistry came together after their 1-0 road loss against West Valley early in the season.
Sunnyside’s potent offense, which had generated a league-best 29 goals in 12 games, seven more than any other team, took the field without their leading goal scorer Diego Gomez.
The senior forward who had 9 goals was serving a four-game suspension following Tuesday’s melee against Wenatchee.
At the 20:38 mark in the first half, junior wing Andres Sagal placed a perfect through pass in stride to hard charging sophomore Diego Cervantes. The midfielder-forward ran past and split two defenders on his way to kicking home the Grizzlies’ first goal and seizing the moment.
“Helping my team win the district championship, I mean is something special to me,” Cervantes proudly explained. “Going off to State is something I’ve been dreaming about since last season.”
Senior captain Hector Cardenas, about two minutes later, sped around a Wildcats’ defender on a breakaway and launched a powerful kick from the center of the goal box area, beating the goalkeeper and making it a 2-0 game.
“It feels amazing to be conference champs and going on to state. I was having dreams about this last night. There’s no better feeling,” exclaimed Cardenas.
The Grizzlies led 2-0 at halftime and were never threatened.
Cervantes, Sagal and Mario Negrete would all add second half goals as Sunnyside captured its third District title in six years.
“We tell the boys that your destiny is in your hands. Us coaches aren’t really about the X’s and O’s so much anymore, because we’ve been doing it all season. Now, it’s about execution, vision and finishing,” Guevara stated.
Sunnyside will host the opening 4A State tournament game against Pasco on Tuesday at 6 p.m.