GHS topples Salinas 3-1 in Tri-County Athletic League play.
A sign of any good team building toward becoming great is its ability to work through issues on the fly, as the game is in motion.
Tied 1-1 at halftime with Salinas on Thursday night, the Gilroy High girls soccer team stayed true to the game plan as the second half commenced -a keep-away mentality with fluid combos that created shots.
What the Mustangs had to negotiate was actually capitalizing on those opportunities. Goals seemed to elude GHS.
However, persistence paid off for the explosive Mustangs, who average nearly five goals per league game, and tallies by Taylor Slattery and Erin Slattery sealed a GHS 3-1 victory over the Cowboys.
“We put a lot of responsibility on them. It’s part of the process,” GHS head coach Jose Hernandez said. “You have to enjoy the ups and downs and work through it. (The coaches) do what we can to prepare them but once they are out there, it’s up to them to create what they want to happen. Otherwise the moment may pass.”
The Mustangs ability to work as a cohesive unit – defense into the midfield into the attacking third – has allowed for them to basically dictate how they want to play.
“It’s control, possession and rhythm,” Hernandez said. “We pride ourselves on that and in our midfield. Right now they are all understanding what they need to do.”
It’s a luxury, no doubt, but it’s also been a work in progress as players have settled into positions.
“We are all pretty close and we are able to get through things like that,” Erin Slattery said of the team’s ability to pinpoint what they need to fix to get the results they desire. “We have such few players and I think that allows for everyone to learn every position so we know what to do.”
The Mustangs struck for a 1-0 lead early in the first half on Taylor Slattery’s first of two goals. But the Cowboys countered, drawing a foul in the box and cashing in on the penalty kick, Katie Chin having the honors.
The score stood the rest of the first half and for a major portion of the second before Taylor curled in a free kick from the right side in the 56th minute.
Erin made it 3-1 converting her own penalty kick, slicing a shot past the diving goalie in the 66th minute.
Midway through the league schedule the Mustangs sit atop the standings at 5-0-1, 8-2-4 overall, even with San Benito for first place. The Balers and Mustangs tied 1-1 in the team’s first meeting and encounter one another again Feb. 8 in Gilroy – likely a league championship contest, even though both teams with have three more games afterward.