Blocking the Way

Gilroy’s Katherine Hussey (8) manages to get just an

On Saturday, the Gilroy volleyball teams will head up to Palo
Alto to watch a Stanford/UCLA women’s volleyball game. But on
Tuesday, the Mustangs must have felt like they were playing against
a Stanford or a UCLA.
Gilroy – On Saturday, the Gilroy volleyball teams will head up to Palo Alto to watch a Stanford/UCLA women’s volleyball game. But on Tuesday, the Mustangs must have felt like they were playing against a Stanford or a UCLA.

In Gilroy’s TCAL opener against rival and section power San Benito, the ‘Stangs couldn’t handle a young but talented lineup of Haybalers and lost in three straight games at home, 16-25, 11-25, 16-25.

“They killed us in the back row,” said GHS junior setter Jennifer Smith, who had seven assists. “We were in our positions, but they got us.”

San Benito’s strong serving, which produced 12 aces in the final two games, and front row attack, gave Gilroy fits throughout the entire match. The ‘Stangs had trouble on many occasions getting their own offense set up.

“(At practice) we went through and made goals, one of which that everyone wanted, which was to communicate,” said Gilroy coach Sue Grogan. “They’re getting there.”

After taking the first game 25-16, San Benito took a 7-6 lead before going on an 11-point run thanks to solid serving by Kortsen.

During that run, senior outside hitter Jamie Temperino had a pair of kills that she tooled off the hands of Mustang blockers. Junior setter Morgan O’Laughlin also set up junior middle hitter Danielle Scibuola on a nice slide play, where Scibuola swung from the middle to the opposite side for a powerful kill. The Mustangs only scored five points after that before falling 25-11.

After Gilroy’s so-so performance at this weekend’s Westmont-Saratoga Tourney – which San Benito won – Grogan tweaked the Mustangs’ rotation on Monday, which she felt worked out well against the ‘Balers.

“For that caliber of team, I was actually just hoping to get into the double digits,” she said.

In the third game, the ‘Balers jumped out to an insurmountable lead again. Kortsen set the tone for the final game with a hard kill to the middle of the ‘Stangs’ side of the court to make it 2-2. She had two more kills as the ‘Balers capitalized on Gilroy errors to take a 12-5 lead.

Gilroy had a small surge late in the game, when junior outside hitter Kayla Meazell had back-to-back kills – one of which went booming off a San Benito back row player’s shoulder – to make it 12-20.

But Kortsen shut the door, getting three of the ‘Baler’s last five points on kills.

Leading Gilroy (2-10 overall, 0-1 in TCAL) were Meazell and senior outside hitter Jessica Groppe with four kills apiece. Senior setter Katherine Hussey had three kills and three assists.

Gilroy heads to Live Oak Thursday for a 7pm game with the Acorns.


Gilroy improved to 2-0 in Mission Trail Athletic League (MTAL) play with an impressive 5-0 road victory over Monterey on Friday.

The Mustangs got things going in the first half with seven shots on goal, while limiting the Toreadors to none. Rushelle Preeshl opened the scoring for Gilroy with an assist from Laura Spellman, then Kelly Perkins struck with help from Erin Magill and Karlie Sandoval. Megan McAvoy closed out the first-half scoring on a pass from Amanda Spellman to make it 3-0 Mustangs at the break.

Perkins scored her second goal of the game in a second half that saw Gilroy take 10 shots on goal to Monterey’s two. Amanda Vasquez finished things up for the ‘Stangs with another assist from Sandoval to seal the 5-0 win.

“Everybody played well,” said co-head coach Adam Gemar Monday. “Jackie Moreno got Player of the Game, despite not scoring, because it was a super physical game … (Monterey) got one green card and one yellow card.”

Gemar’s co-head coach and wife, Erin Gemar, was unable to attend the game, one of the few she has missed as coach of the Mustangs.

“We joked that there was a jinx on us when she’s missing, because she’s missed one game each season over the past few years and we’ve always lost or tied that game,” Adam Gemar said. “So we talked about breaking that jinx, especially playing on the grass (at Monterey HS), on a surface that isn’t too field hockey-friendly. There were big dirt clumps and a super huge crown on the field. So we had to adjust our game – which is a finesse game, a passing game – for the bad conditions, and we did.”

Gilroy is now 3-1-1 overall in regulation games this season. The Mustangs travel to Stevenson today for a 4pm MTAL showdown.

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