BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Sweep victory

Senior Nico Sandoval dives for the dig.

GILROY – The Mustangs have yet to drop a set in TCAL play this
season en route to a 5-0 start, including two three-game sweeps
this week.
GILROY – The players and coaches for the Gilroy High boys volleyball team are quietly confident – and that’s a good thing.

Even though the Mustangs lost their entire starting rotation from last season’s team, which finished second in the Tri-County Athletic League, they haven’t missed a beat in the early going of league play this year. With returning captains, junior setter Gavin Menges, senior Albert Chavez and senior Nico Sandoval, the Mustangs have a solid core to build upon.

And with the additions of juniors Dietrich Baumgartner, Robbie Filice and Pablo Chavez, the Mustangs send out a balanced front and back line that provides coaches Scott Martin and Josh Corioso a well-oiled machine, which when all parts are in unison, the results are usually favorable.

“These guys are all really athletic,” Corioso said. “A lot of it is natural talent on this team. We got lucky having a lot of good players this year. These guys work hard.”

Leading the way up front is the lanky-yet-powerful Albert Chavez. The senior middle blocker has ripped a team-high 98 kills thus far (12.25 per game) and can often ignite momentum on the Mustangs’ side of the net with his gym-shaking spikes.

Menges has averaged 23.5 assists per game and Sandoval leads the team in digs with 49.

The thought of a league championship is of course a mouth-watering idea for the Mustangs, who are in search of their first league crown, but their concentration lies with each opponent that takes position on the other side of the net.

“I do want the kids to realize that (a championship) is a possibility, but I don’t want it to be the main focus,” Corioso said. “I would rather beat the teams that we are supposed to beat. If we play well we will get rewarded, and that’s the bottom line.”

It is early in the season, but already the Mustangs have made a statement in the TCAL. Knocking down one barrier that kept them from a championship a year ago with a Week 1 triumph over defending league champ San Benito.

The Mustangs have pushed their record to 5-0 in league, and extended a streak in which they have not dropped a game in those four outings (15-0) after a three-game sweep of Palma (25-23, 25-12, 25-19) on Wednesday and another (25-8, 25-12, 25-20 against Salinas on Thursday night.

The Mustangs appeared a bit out of whack in game one versus Palma but were able to recover from a sluggish start.

“We were just out of sync,” Corioso said. “We should have been a lot better than that. We came out with a win and that’s what it’s all about in league.”

Keeping up the intensity match in and match out is what Corioso and Martin have tried to get across to the Mustangs.

“Our goal every match is to go out and try to win 3-0,” Martin said. “I don’t care who it is on the other side of the net. We have to focus on the quality of volleyball we are putting out there.”

The Mustangs came out and took care of business from start to finish Thursday.

“I happy with the way the guys are progressing,” Martin said.

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