Finally! Mustangs record soccer victory over rivals for the
first time in years
Before Tuesday night, no one on the Gilroy girls’ soccer team was even in high school the last time the Mustangs beat Hollister.
Worse yet, GHS hadn’t even scored a score a goal against the Haybalers since the 2001-02 season.
But that wasn’t the motivation used by the Gilroy side during its groundbreaking 3-1 victory at Mustang Stadium. In fact, no one on this young team even seemed to know about the streak until the coaches informed them afterward.
“No, we didn’t tell them,” GHS head coach Jose Rodriguez said. “All we talked about in preparation was Jan. 6 and how we felt after that game … and whether we wanted to feel that way again.”
Back on Jan. 6, Gilroy dropped its league opener at Hollister, 1-0. The ‘Stangs were shut out despite getting off more than 30 shots, at least three times as many as the ‘Balers.
“The first game we outplayed them in shots, but they just didn’t go in,” GHS mid-wing Kristie Figueroa. “It was very frustrating to lose, knowing we should’ve won.”
In that first matchup, Hollister standout Jennifer Vandenberg popped a shot over Gilroy goalie Sarah Hugo in the 77th minute.
“It was very frustrating, because we dominated on their field and they got in one kick over our goalie,” GHS forward Brittany Barnes said.
“After the game, we were all like ‘we can’t wait to play them again … that shouldn’t have happened.'”
Thanks in part to Barnes and Figueroa, it didn’t.
In the game’s eight minute, Figueroa quickly got the Mustangs on the board with an assist from Stephanie Glenn.
To put it in perspective, Hollister had outscored Gilroy, 29-0, over the last five meetings, including a 7-0 wipeout the last time the two met at GHS.
“I didn’t even know that,” the freshman Figueroa said.
The 1-0 held up until halftime, thanks in part to a save Hugo made in a one-on-one situation with Vandenberg late in the first half. It wouldn’t be the last save for Hugo, who posted yet another solid performance in league play.
“They’ve got an excellent goalkeeper,” Hollister coach Mike Shurig said.
In the second half, the Mustangs again got on the board quickly when Figueroa found Barnes for a 2-0 lead in the fifth minute.
Shortly thereafter, though, Vanderberg was able to get the Haybalers back in it by converting on a penalty kick. Last year’s TCAL Offensive Player of the Year, Vandenberg upped her season total to a team-leading 24 goals scored.
But after the PK, the scoring on both sides dried up. Both squads had some decent chances, but were denied by Hugo on one side and Mary Von Urff on the other.
Then, with just 10 minutes left and GHS clinging to a one-goal lead, Glenn fired a shot that hit a Hollister player in the hand while in the box.
Given a penalty kick opportunity, Gilroy junior midfielder Amanda Bruce took advantage with a successful shot into the upper lefthand side of the net.
The penalty wasn’t without its controversy, though.
Shurig, a referee himself, argued that it was a ball-to-hand instance in which the hand was inadvertent and didn’t stop momentum.
“Certainly it’s the ref’s call, but I would not have awarded a PK on that,” said Shurig, who also acknowledged the call didn’t end up mattering in a two-goal game.
When told of Shurig’s comments, Hernandez said he noticed a few more questionable calls that went against the Mustangs, including one that gave the ‘Balers their only goal.
“Those calls go either way,” the second-year coach said. “There were three or four during the game that I thought could’ve gone the other way.”
All calls aside, in the end it was a Gilroy victory. And it was a Gilroy victory over an old nemesis.
“All I know is that I’m a Gilroy boy, so anytime we can beat Hollister it feels good,” Hernandez said, “and especially since it’s the first time for all of us.”