Lady ‘Stang stix still in playoff mix

But latest 2-1 road loss to Monterey crowds TCAL league
MONTEREY – The Lady Mustang field hockey team hit a big road block Tuesday – falling 2-1 to host Monterey – and, in doing so, caused a logjam in the upper half of the Tri-County Athletic League standings.

Although it’s still a mystery to the Gilroy High coaches, the Lady Mustangs’ record now sits at 4-2-3 in TCAL and Monterey’s record at 5-2-2 in TCAL. In addition, York reportedly has five league wins and league-leader North Salinas might be undefeated.

But nobody’s telling.

The one thing the Lady Mustangs do know is that they must finish strong with remaining games against RLS on Thursday, North Salinas at home on Monday, and Santa Catalina at home on Tuesday. All games are scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

“We’re all neck-and-neck,” said co-head coach Adam Gemar, whose squad just missed a playoff berth last season. While the league champ is assured a post-season spot, the rest of the TCAL teams must bank on a wildcard selection from the section. “It’s definitely never-say-die, for sure.”

The Lady Mustangs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against Monterey as junior forward Amanda Cooper – who has been on a tear since returning from an ankle injury – scored on a short corner set up by teammates Sandra Aguayo and Michelle Morejon. Monterey, however, knotted the score at 1-1 before the half.

“Our short corners are working this year,” Coach Gemar said. “We had quite a few of them.”

But the Lady Mustangs failed to capitalize on eight short corners in the second half. According to Coach Gemar, the unsuccessful attempts had to do in part with the bumpy field at Monterey as well as the speedy Lady Toreador defenders.

“We always have trouble with them,” said Coach Gemar, who lost for the first time in his coaching career to Monterey. “It’s always a very tough game, but we usually find a way to win (or tie) with a late goal.”

Once Monterey took the lead in the second half, its game-plan was more defensive-minded – preventing Gilroy from getting many odd-man rushes up field.

“They played a very conservative defense with their sweeper, but we had eight short corners,” Gemar said. “We had our opportunites.”

But the quick-striking Gilroy attack – which scored five goals against Carmel last week and has season-highs of six goals twice this year – could not find the back of the net again.

Junior midfielder Jessica Sandoval was named Gilroy’s player of the game.