PREP PREVIEWS: Climbing the ‘Mount’

Senior Aubrey Young takes a shot during a shooting drill at

It may be a new league, but it’s the same objective for Gilroy
High’s varsity field hockey team
Head coach Adam Gemar doesn’t just run the team. He operates it like a well-oiled machine.

With all of its parts in working order, systematically developed so that each component is in sync with one another, the Gilroy High varsity field hockey team is geared for racking up the ‘W’s’.

A 20-1 record last season is proof the contrived formula is potent.

“Work hard, you should be tired” Gemar shouted Tuesday, the hottest day of the year, as the 2010-11 version of the Lady Mustangs diligently participated in passing drills. “We look for well-rounded players. They have the stick skills, they can hit and they have good vision.”

There was no rest for the weary, a three-minute water break in the shade was enough to rehydrate. A jog back onto the turf and it was back to business.

“You ask them to pick it up and they really pick it up,” Gemar said. “You really start to see some intensity.”

On the agenda for the 2010-11 season is a Central Coast Section championship – a goal that has always held the No. 1 slot. This year though, the Lady Mustangs will get a good look at the likely field of teams they will face in November even before the playoffs are underway.

After nine-straight Mission Trail Athletic League titles, the Lady Mustangs’ program received a long-awaited promotion to the Mount Hamilton Division of the Blossom Valley Athletic League, paving the way for what will assuredly be a benchmark season.

“It would have been nice to get it a coupe years back,” said Gemar, who is entering his 13th season at the helm. “It’s going to build our program, especially for the younger girls.”

Leaving behind the MTAL, in which the Lady Mustangs often dismantled opponents by seven, eight, or nine goals, the daily grind will get a lot tougher now that they are playing with the “big girls” of the MHAL.

“It’s the best of the best,” senior Dani Hemeon said. “We used to just be pumped for our preseason games, but now every game we will have to be ready. Everyone knows who the competition is.”

Archbishop Mitty, Presentation, Saint Francis and the team’s bitter rival, Los Gatos, are now on the schedule – at least – twice per season. Think of it as a season’s worth of CCS Division I playoff hockey before the actual post-season begins.

Those four teams plus Gilroy, and Mount Hamilton squads Leigh and Saratoga, were all in the playoffs last season. There will be some high-quality hockey being played out on the turf night in and night out.

“Now that we will play at a playoff-level every game, it’s just going to make us a lot better and prepare us more for CCS,” senior Emily Costa said.

The time for excuses appears to have run out and now the clock strikes for Gemar’s group to prove they belong among the elite.

“It’s something (the program) has been working toward for the last 10 years,” Costa said.

The Lady Mustangs return 12 seniors to a roster with 21 players, giving Gemar some options off the bench in order to keep his players fresh and ready for the fast-paced hockey the MHAL offers up.

“We have a really strong sophomore class,” Gemar said.

As a unit, the Lady Mustangs are confident in their offensive push. Crisp and precise stick-to-stick passing through the neutral zone and into the circle to create scoring chances remains paramount to the attack.

“Right now our senior players see the field really well,” Gemar said. “What I see is that we like to pass to much and we aren’t pulling the trigger enough. So we are trying to work on that a little bit.”

With the offense where it’s at, focus thus far has shifted to the defensive scheme.

“We really need to work on getting back (on defense),” Costa said. “We are more of a finesse team, but these teams are more aggressive. We need to match them to play at that level. We have to work on going harder in games.”

The Lady Mustangs will participate in a five-team preseason scrimmage at St. Francis on Saturday.

2010-11 Schedule

8/31 vs. Live Oak High School(scrimmage)

9/2 @ Westmont High School

9/16 @ Prospect High School

9/17 @ Leigh High Longhorn Round-Up

9/18 @ Leigh High Longhorn Round-Up

League play begins

9/21 @ Saratoga High School

9/23 @ Los Altos High School

9/28 vs. St. Francis High School-Mountain View

9/30 vs. Leigh High School

10/5 @ Presentation High School

10/7 @ Archbishop Mitty High School

10/12 vs. Los Gatos High School

10/14 vs. Saratoga High School

10/19 vs. Los Altos High School

10/21 @ St. Francis High School-Mountain View 10/26 @ Leigh High School

10/28 vs. Presentation High School

11/2 vs. Archbishop Mitty High School

11/4 @ Los Gatos High School

*Schedule not finalized. Game times yet to be determined.

GHS varsity roster

Alex Kachakji – sophomore

Alex Rose – senior

Alyssa Kroeger – senior

Amanda Poso – senior

Ashlee Williams – junior

Aubrey Young – senior

Dani Hemeon – senior

Emily Costa – senior

Emma Leach – freshman

Esmeralda Gobea – sophomore

Jessica Gonzalez – senior

Kaylana Mah – sophomore

Kenny Nebesnick – senior

Krissy Chuck – junior

Megan Nebesnick – sophomore

Monica Marrazzo – soph

Roya Lillie – junior

Shayna Robledo – senior

Steph Gomez – senior

Taylor Shaut – senior

Tiana Huddlestun – senior

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