– Craig Martin had seen enough. His Gilroy High boys’ volleyball
team had just squandered all of a two-game advantage and the early
momentum, and found itself in a winner-take-all fifth, and
deciding, game in last night’s match at Live Oak.
Morgan Hill – Craig Martin had seen enough. His Gilroy High boys’ volleyball team had just squandered all of a two-game advantage and the early momentum, and found itself in a winner-take-all fifth, and deciding, game in last night’s match at Live Oak.
So Martin had a few choice words for his team, then watched as the Mustangs rolled past the host Acorns in Game 5 for a crucial Tri-County Athletic League victory. Led by 19 kills from both Ryan Chisholm and Vinnie DeLorenzo, Gilroy outlasted Live Oak 25-14, 25-17, 29-31, 20-25, 15-6.
But it probably shouldn’t have been that close, and Martin let his team know that in no uncertain terms after a lackluster fourth-game loss.
“Volleyball’s such a momentum game and we’d lost our momentum after Game 4, so I took them outside and talked to them,” Martin said. “It’s nothing I could say for the paper.”
Early on, Gilroy looked ready to roll over the defending TCAL champions, who are struggling this season with an inexperienced lineup. Paced by its towering frontline, including Chisholm, DeLorenzo and Dominic Jackson, who had seven kills and five blocks, GHS pounded a laid-back Live Oak team into submission in the first two games.
But then the ‘Stangs let up in Game 3. With a chance to end the match early against the home team, Gilroy relaxed just enough to allow the Acorns, led by standout senior Ryan Newcomb, to hang around. Gilroy had three straight match points but couldn’t convert any of them in a marathon game that ended up going the Acorns’ way.
A resurgent Live Oak team controlled the pace in Game 4 against the suddenly out-of-synch ‘Stangs to force the tiebreaker.
First-year Live Oak coach Keith Tungate, who let his usually calm demeanor slip in an outburst aimed at his team’s sluggish effort in Game 2, said he shook up his lineup in the next two games in an effort to motivate the Acorns.
“I switched up anything and everything in Game 3,” Tungate said. “We had some very good moments. Our effort picked up a lot and we decided to give them a run for their money.”
Meanwhile, Martin was searching for an answer to his team’s malaise.
“We lose our focus,” he said. “We had 15 service errors in five games, which is not good for us. And, we got really lazy in the back row.”
After the talking-to, though, Gilroy reasserted itself and dominated the tiebreaker.
Martin said his team is still finding itself as it seeks to incorporate its seven basketball players, who didn’t join the team until early March, into the rotation.
“We’re still finding our rhythm,” he said. “We’re only going to get better.”
GHS improved to 3-2 in league, 7-6 overall, while Live Oak fell to 2-3 in league, 6-6 overall.