Amidst the tears of sadness from seeing an unprecedented season
end one step short of the CCS championship game Tuesday against No.
1 seed Archbishop Mitty, senior midfielder Karlie Sandoval had some
encouraging words for the 12 underclassmen on the team sitting
Amidst the tears of sadness from seeing an unprecedented season end one step short of the CCS championship game Tuesday against No. 1 seed Archbishop Mitty, senior midfielder Karlie Sandoval had some encouraging words for the 12 underclassmen on the team sitting around her.
“Look around you,” she said. “This is the team you’ll have next year.”
Later, sophomores Amanda Spellman and Emily Haygood echoed those words.
“Watch out for next season,” Spellman said.
Added Haygood, “We’re coming. It’ll be better next year than it is this year.”
Really, there is no reason to think the Mustangs can’t improve on this season’s stellar 17-2-3 record.
“I’m very sorry to see it end,” said co-head coach Erin Gemar.
But the Mustangs have a lot to be proud of. The team made the CCS semifinals for the first time in Adam and Erin Gemar’s 7-year tenure. Gilroy’s two losses came at the hands of the defending CCS co-champs, Mitty and Saratoga. And Sandoval is the first Gilroy High field hockey player the Gemars have had to be actively recruited by Division I college teams. Erin Gemar said Sandoval’s top two choices are Stanford and Yale.
“Her leadership and role modeling and how she practiced on and off the field was really good for the girls, especially the ones trying to go to college and continue their field hockey careers,” Erin Gemar said.
The Mustangs will also lose defender Heather Link and goalie Brittany Simpson to graduation. But everyone else will return.
“These guys,” said co-head coach Adam Gemar, motioning to Amanda and freshman sister Laura Spellman, “they’re students of the game. And (junior) Erin Magill. They come on out and they try all the skills and incorporate them into the games and are naturals with the stick.”
This year, Laura Spellman, the lone freshman on the team stepped comfortably into a starting position.
“It felt so good to be able to start and play with everyone, play with my sister,” she said. “No one thought of me as a freshman. They just cared if I played well or not.”
Next year, the Mustangs will continue to have their power players Kelly Perkins, Russhelle Preeshl and Dana Schoeneman, who are all juniors. Goalie Stephanie Glenn, who was a huge part of Gilroy’s win over Los Gatos Saturday, will also be back.
This year’s run into the semifinals may have provided the program with the confident attitude it will needs in the future to get past the perennial CCS powerhouses like Mitty and St. Francis, who face each other in the finals this Saturday. The ‘Stangs thrilling defeat of Los Gatos in the quarterfinals seemed to be a turning point for Gilroy.
“We just beat Los Gatos,” sophomore Lindsay Valadez said in disbelief after the game.
One highlight of the season came off the field, right before the CCS playoff started when Erin Gemar gave birth to her and Adam’s first child, Kai.
“I definitely couldn’t do for the team what I wanted to do physically and I had to step into a different role,” said Erin Gemar, who only missed one game after giving birth. “But I think the girls understood. There was more team unity than separation.”
Another part of the Gilroy field hockey extended family that added to the season was alumni support, Erin Gemar said. Former players and their parents turned out in crowds at the CCS playoff games.
“The alumni support was incredible this season,” Erin Gemar said. “We don’t get the numbers that other (teams) do…(But) our family is growing larger and larger.”