Photo by Ted Escobar
Unidentifiable players from East Valley battle for the balll as East Valley’s Juan Mendoza and Grandview’s Alex Benitez (7) and Mario Jacobo converge on the action.
As of Tuesday, May 8, 2018
GRANDVIEW East Valley (Yakima) and Grandview were evenly matched Tuesday, May 8, for the district tournament third-place contest, except for one player — the Red Devils’ Juan Mendoza.
Mendoza scored once in each half to lead East Valley to a 3-2 soccer victory at Rich Leenhouts Stadium.
And when he wasn’t scoring he was threatening to.
Grandview players had a tough time stopping him one-on-one. It took two or three to slow him down.
The score could have been higher for both clubs. The Red Devils and Greyhounds missed on several shots from point-blank range in the first half.
On one Grandview attack that fans thought was a sure-fire score, Greyhound Javier Correa and Javier Dominguez worked the ball beautifully to the goal.
Dominguez was in front with four East Valley defenders trying to fill the void between him and Correa at about the 35-yard line.
Correa made a brilliant pass forward that Dominguez caught in stride with only the goal keeper to beat. The keeper challenged him at about the 8-yard line, and Correa got off an untouched shot to the left. But it went outside the post.
Grandview had at least two similar opportunities in the first half and failed to cash in.
It was one of longest games played in these parts, thanks to a thunderstorm.
It started at 5 p.m. and finished sometime after 7 p.m. The title game between Selah and Toppenish was supposed to start at 7 p.m.
East Valley took a 1-0 lead 24 minutes into the game and maintained it to half-time. The Red Devils pressured the goal the entire first half.
Grandview turned the tables after the break and played most of the second half in the East Valley side of the field.
But it made no difference. After Grandview made the score 1-1 on a Dominguez goal, East Valley roared back for two scores, including Mendoza’s second.
With 12:45 left in the game, around 5:45 p.m., the game was stopped for lightning. Officials said the wait would be 25 minutes.
But it was much longer, as lightning clouds persisted.
The game didn’t resume until about 7 p.m.
Grandview rallied but couldn’t take the lead
The loss eliminates Grandview from post-season play.
The Greyhounds posted a 6-3 record in the Central Washington 2A Athletic Conference for fourth-place in the regular season.
The only matches they lost were to the Top 3 teams — Selah, Toppenish and East Valley.