‘Stangs Have Sights Set on Winning CCS

Gilroy’s quest for the Central Coast Section field hockey title
begins today.
Gilroy – Gilroy’s quest for the Central Coast Section field hockey title begins today.

The fifth-seeded Mustangs (15-1-2) will take on No. 12 Del Mar (9-3-4) today at 3pm at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex.

“We’re just looking forward to hosting the first round game,” said co-head coach Erin Gemar. “I think it’s the first one Gilroy has ever hosted.”

In the regular season, Del Mar clinched a spot in the playoffs by tying eighth-seeded Presentation for first in the West Valley Athletic League.

“They’re a respectable team,” Gemar said. “They’re fast.”

Should the Wildcats win today, they will move on to a quarterfinal matchup with No. 4 seed Los Gatos (11-4-1), which received a first-round bye.

In the past two years, Gilroy has fallen in the quarterfinals – and not by close margins. In 2003, the Mustangs lost to St. Francis 6-0 and in 2004, they lost to Los Gatos 5-1.

But this year could be different. In preseason play, Gilroy tied Los Gatos 1-1, the best result the Mustangs have had against the Wildcats. However, Los Gatos isn’t the same team it was in the preseason.

“Los Gatos really didn’t do well in the preseason,” Gemar said. “They’ve definitely been peaking and are definitely not a team to take lightly.”

Also on Gilroy’s side of the bracket is top seed Mitty, last year’s co-champ with Saratoga.

This year, Gilroy stacks up much more closely with the top seeds. In a 30-minute tournament match this season, the Mustangs lost 1-0 to Mitty. More recently, Gilroy tied No. 2 St. Francis 0-0 on Oct. 14.

“We’re feeling confident, but not over-confident,” Gemar said.

This year, the advanced rounds of the playoffs will be played at St. Francis. For the past seven years, Los Gatos was the host. The venue change also means a surface change from grass to turf, which Gemar said will bring more predictability to the games.

“The ball won’t bounce as much. Hand-eye coordination is much more important,” Gemar said. “No one ever complained about Los Gatos. They have a beautiful field, it’s almost like playing on turf. But I guess it woudn’t have changed if they didn’t think it was a better venue.”

Since the first CCS field hockey playoffs in 1976, Gilroy has won one CCS title. In 1983, the Mustangs beat Lynbrook 1-0 in the title game. The only other trip Gilroy made to the title game was in 1985.

In recent years, the title has been dominated by BVAL-Mt. Hamilton teams Los Gatos, Mitty and St. Francis. Since 1998, Los Gatos has won four titles, including when the Wildcats shared it with St. Francis in 2003.

5 players to watch

• Liz Dobbs – Sr. forward,

St. Ignatius

• Kathryn Kamenski – Sr. center midfielder, St. Francis

• Jessica Kolte – forward, Leland

• Nora Soza – Sr. sweeper,

Archbishop Mitty – 2004 CCS Player of the Yearorward

• Karlie Sandoval – Sr. midfielder, Gilroy – 2004 All-CCS 1st Team

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