The San Benito Haybalers defeated the Gilroy Mustangs in their
home pool on Senior Day
Gilroy – It was a much different Senior Day than last year.
Last fall, the Gilroy girls’ water polo team said goodbye to 12 seniors. Wednesday, it bid farewell to just two, Elizabeth Rothenburg and CeCe Rojas, in the final home game of the season against San Benito.
The young Mustangs (3-9 in TCAL) weren’t able to get a win against the more experienced ‘Balers, losing 14-2. But that was OK with the two seniors, who both know the team has a bright future to look forward to.
“I definitely think next year they will be a team to reckon with,” said Rothenburg, a three-year player. “This year was a rebuilding year.”
Rojas, a GHS swimmer who decided to take a shot at water polo her senior year, said she enjoyed being a part of the team and learning the game.
“I saved water polo for my last year,” she said. “It can be brutal, but it’s so worth the punches.”
Gilroy head coach Andy Been thought his team would have a closer game against the ‘Balers, considering the Mustangs lost to Salinas by a slim 7-5 margin last week and Salinas had beaten San Benito.
The Mustangs started strong, with Jenny Ailes scoring in the first period to keep Gilroy close to San Benito at the end of it 3-1. San Benito scored three more goals in the second period to take a 6-1 lead.
After the half, San Benito showed its experience by controlling the ball for most of the time and pressuring Gilroy into taking inaccurate shots. Early in the third period, San Benito’s Jarae Tanner set the tone, firing in back-to-back goals a minute apart to give San Benito an 8-1 lead. Two more ‘Baler goals earned a 10-1 lead going into the final period.
Halfway through the fourth period in front of the San Benito goal, Gilroy got a break when the ‘Balers were whistled for a few fouls. Gilroy took the opportunity to get some good looks at the goal before Cassie Collom put one in the net for the Mustangs’ second and final goal. But San Benito countered with three more goals to end it 14-2.
“We haven’t improved as much as I thought we would because we have a young team,” Been said. “It’s hard to build any confidence when you keep getting beat.”
Gilroy will have its last hurrah at the TCAL Tournament next week.