GILROY – After five grueling, bleacher-stomping sets, the
Mustangs outlasted the Toreadors 19-25, 25-19, 25-19, 18-25,
GILROY – A rivalry that has been budding over the past handful of years was in full bloom from the outset Tuesday night, and there was no doubt the Gilroy High and Monterey High boys volleyball teams brought out the best in each other inside Bob Hagen Memorial Gymnasium.
The two powerhouses entered the match deadlocked at the top of the Tri-County Athletic League with spotless 7-0 records. The intensity was palpable and increased as the contest wore on.
“I feel it,” senior Dietrich Baumgartner said of the rivalry. “These have been the better teams in the TCAL the last few years and each wants to be better than the other.”
After five grueling, bleacher-stomping, stomach-churning sets, the Mustangs outlasted the Toreadors 19-25, 25-19, 25-19, 18-25, 19-17, anchoring themselves in first place midway through the season.
Both teams left the court to a standing ovation from the fans on hand, showing their appreciation for the efforts displayed on both sides of the net.
“We knew it was going to be a good one and probably go five games,” junior Gavin Menges said. “They are a talented team. It’s pretty competitive.”
GHS coaches Scott Martin and Josh Corioso couldn’t hide their smiles after the match finally came to an end, each grasping their hearts as if they were trying to catch their breath.
“Tonight was phenomenal,” Martin said. “We haven’t seen them play like that all season. We been trying to get there, trying to get there. Game 2, 3 and 5 was the best I have seen them play.
“We were making plays, they were making plays. That was good volleyball on both sides. We are fortunate to come out with a win there.”
The Toreadors led throughout Game 1 and closed out the set on a mini 5-2 run, snapping the Mustangs’ streak of 21 consecutive set victories in league play.
The Mustangs responded by taking the next two sets and looked as though they would cruise to a four-set victory after taking a 13-9 lead in Game 4.
However, the Toreadors seized momentum and rattled off 19 of the next 26 points to take the set and force the first-to-15 fifth and deciding set.
As if there needed to be more drama in the, the Mustangs bolted out to an 9-3 lead in the final set but succumbed to another Toreadors’ comeback, conceding seven straight points and falling behind 10-9.
The back-and-forth mayhem continued – the Mustangs fighting off two match points – and after a Dietrich Baumgartner block, the nearly two-hour match was finalized on a centerline fault called on the Toreadors.
“We all tried to play hard to get through it,” Baumgartner said. “We knew this was a good team so we had to bring our ‘A’ game.”
Senior Albert Chavez posted a team-high 23 kills, including seven in the fifth set as he and Monterey’s Ty Dudley-Mann traded gym-shattering kills throughout the final game. Baumgartner had nine blocks on the night to go along with eight kills. Senior Nico Sandoval ripped 12 kills, and Menges served up 46 assists.