Mustangs, Wildcats challenge for top spot in Mount Hamilton
As with any legitimate rivalry, a level of respect exists between the teams involved. But make no mistake, there isn’t any love lost when the Gilroy High and Los Gatos varsity field hockey teams encounter one another on the turf.
The Wildcats are the proverbial thorn in the Mustangs’ side, dispensing them from the Central Coast Section semifinals the past two years.
Now as league combatants, a new chapter in the classic rivalry will be written today as the Wildcats visit the Mustangs in a pivotal Mount Hamilton Division matchup at 3:30 p.m. at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex.
It is the first of two regular-season meetings between the rivals.
“When we first started out, they would give us a preseason game and used to beat the crud out of us,” head coach Adam Gemar said Monday, adding that he gets the chills just thinking about the contest. “As the years went on, we got better and got a couple wins. They stopped giving us the game. And now it’s turned into a rivalry.”
Tightly contested playoff games against one another have intensified the rivalry tenfold over the last two seasons.
The Wildcats, who are the two-time defending CCS champions, knocked off the Mustangs by a 2-1 margin in 2008 and eliminated GHS in 2009 by a 2-0 count.
“The girls have been thinking about this for a long time,” Gemar said.
Both the Mustangs and Wildcats carry spotless records into today’s showdowns, including 5-0 league marks.
“Every year they have great players,” Gemar said. “They are pretty well-rounded and well coached.”
The Wildcats play a physical game, relentless on defense and lethal on the counter attack. Los Gatos held the Mustangs’ offense in check during last year’s semifinals.
Gemar said this season’s team is well prepared for the ebbs and flows his team will most certainly face against Los Gatos.
“I think right now, as far as preparedness, not that this Gilroy team is any better than others, but I see us working really well together. There are more players off the bench and every position is set with quality athletes.”
Yes, it is a big game, however, the result, win or lose for Gilroy, will not determine a league championship. There is an entire second half of league action yet to be played out. But a win would feel pretty good.
“It doesn’t make any difference if we win or lose because we will see them again and most likely in the playoffs also,” Gemar said. “I just want us to play well. I’m sure they want to beat us too.”
The game, which will have a playoff-like feel to it, is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start.
“The only difference is that playoff games are usually in the evenings,” Gemar said. “This one is going to be an 85-degree midday thing.”