Champs at Last!

Gilroy celebrates after its 4-0 victory Thursday over Alisal.

Salinas
– Gilroy left a lot of goals on the field during the first half
Thursday.
And yet once the floodgates opened, the Mustangs were able to
pour it on during a 4-0 win at Alisal that clinched for Gilroy the
Tri-County Athletic League title.
Salinas – Gilroy left a lot of goals on the field during the first half Thursday.

And yet once the floodgates opened, the Mustangs were able to pour it on during a 4-0 win at Alisal that clinched for Gilroy the Tri-County Athletic League title.

Actually the Mustangs (10-4-6 overall, 7-1-4 TCAL) will share the title with San Benito, which edged Salinas 2-1 Thursday. The Haybalers are 8-3-1 in TCAL, which means each team finished with 25 points. Because Gilroy had a better record again San Benito (1-0-1), the Mustangs get the league’s top seed to go along with their first ever title.

GHS missed 12 of its first 13 shots Thursday with four banging off the goalpost. And then the Mustangs made three of their next four shots to break the game open.

As usual, Amanda Bruce was marked tightly and yet found a way to be in the middle of the offensive explosion. The senior midfielder, who scored Gilroy’s lone first-half goal, had two assists in the second half.

“It was a little frustrating for a while,” Bruce said of the team’s offensive struggles. “I had so many 1-on-1s. Others were open and they had the opportunity to score, and they did so in the second half.”

Bruce’s goal came nine minutes into the game when she got to a loose ball, wheeled and booted a left-footed kick into the left corner of the next. Gilroy continued to attack during the first but was unable to finish.

It carried over into the second half when Sara Hugo and Bruce both had shots off the post, and Bruce was unable to convert a breakaway.

And then, 9 1/2 minutes into the second half, a tightly marked Bruce found a crease in the defense and slid a pass to Kristi Figueroa, whose 15-yard shot found the net.

Twelve minutes into the half, Bruce found an open Ariana Vera and the speedy forward converted. Twelve minutes later, Figueroa scored her second goal on an assist from Vera.

Meanwhile, the Mustang defense threw a blanket around Alisal. The Trojans didn’t get their first shot on goal until 19 minutes into the second half. Gilroy finished with an 18-2 advantage in shots on goal, and Alicia Reese was in the goal for her fourth shutout.

“At the beginning of this year, I honestly didn’t think we would go this far,” said senior Margaret Burton, who like Bruce is a four-year varsity player. “All the hard work paid off.”

Bruce and Burton remember as freshmen when the Mustangs didn’t win a single league game. Now they can truly say how long ago that seems.

Gilroy awaits its Central Coast Conference playoff plight, which will be determined at Saturday’s seeding meeting.

Leave your comments