GHS Boys Look to Build on Recent Success
Gilroy – On paper, it looks like a rebuilding year for Gilroy.
From last year’s CCS qualifying team, the Mustangs lost 8 starters, one of those being CCS Player of the Year Alfonso Motagalvan who now plays at UCSB. Thus, 14 players on the Mustangs’ 22-man roster will be playing varsity for the first time.
But don’t count the Mustangs out based on those facts. Gilroy assistant coach Brian Hall says this year’s team has tremendous potential.
“In my five years (at Gilroy High), I haven’t seen as much energy and excitement with the boys as I have this year,” Hall said. “The practices are unbelievable.”
The team already has better technical skills than the Gilroy team that went to the CCS finals in 2004, Hall said. Now it’s a matter of getting the players’ tactical skills to catch up.
The Gilroy offense takes a hit with the loss of Motagalvan and Evy Diaz de Leon, who were the top two leading scorers. Returning senior forward Jose Pineda scored only two goals last year but was one of the most effective attackers in the second half of the season. Hall also expects big things from newcomer Jason Olivo, a freshman forward.
“This kid has big-time potential. He’s quick, athletic and strong,” Hall said. “Just phenomenal potential.”
The midfield will likely be patrolled by junior Marco Moreno, junior Humberto Pineda and sophomore Jose Armando Hernandez. Hall said Moreno really improved his all-around game in the offseason.
“He’s a player whose passion and techical ability has shown brightly early on,” Hall said.
Graduation also left a hole in the ‘Stangs defense, which earned the team 14 shutouts last year and gave up only 10 goals. Three of four defensive starters graduated and will have to be replaced. Heading up the defense this year will be sophomore Kevin Grove, who last season was named the TCAL co-Freshman of the Year. Aiding him will be senior Emmi Nava and freshman Andy Moya.
The ‘Stangs have a number of good matchups on their schedule this year, including the Homestead Christmas Cup which begins next Saturday.
“That’s a big high school tournament in CCS,” Hall said. “It’s really competitive and there are real top teams that you don’t necessarily play in your league.”
The team is also looking forward to playing on the new turf at Garcia-Elder field, which Hall feels will only be conducive to the team’s speed and style of play.
Live Oak will again be the team to beat in TCAL. The Acorns went to the CCS semifinals last year and return a lot of key players. North Salinas will also be strong. Gilroy could sneak up on a lot of teams.
“We’re going to be a sleeper team this year,” Hall said. “I don’t think (outsider) expectation levels are going to be high. Though for the players, it’s going to be high.”