VOLLEYBALL: Mustangs quiet crosstown Cougars in 3 sets

 

Gilroy High boys volleyball head coach Josh Corioso looked at
Thursday’s game against Christopher High as a tune-up for his team.
But it only took a few minutes of game action for the tune-up to
take effect, as Gilroy cruised to victory in straight sets (25-12,
25-8, 25-9) over the crosstown Cougars on Thursday at Christopher
High School in Gilroy.
Gilroy High boys volleyball head coach Josh Corioso looked at Thursday’s game against Christopher High as a tune-up for his team.

But it only took a few minutes of game action for the tune-up to take effect, as Gilroy cruised to victory in straight sets (25-12, 25-8, 25-9) over the crosstown Cougars on Thursday at Christopher High School in Gilroy.

“We were just trying to tune-up to make sure everyone knows what their key role is and get everybody the playing time they need,” Corioso said. “They have been working hard, and deserved the win.”

The Cougars (0-5), a team comprised of three juniors, three freshmen and five sophomores, jumped out to early leads in each set, but couldn’t withstand the veteran presence of Gilroy seniors Dietrich Baumgartner, Gavin Menges and A.J. Bean.

Baumgartner, an outside hitter, finished with eight kills and Bean, a middle blocker, had seven kills. Menges added 16 assists and seven of the team’s 19 aces.

“With a young team you will get nerves, but through repetition and game situations that will eventually go away,” Christopher High head coach Jason Medenceles said. “During practice, we are trying to get into game situations.”

After the Cougars pulled within a point of Gilroy at 6-5 during the opening set, the Mustangs unleashed seven straight points, which was capped off by a furious kill by Baumgartner to put Gilroy up 13-5.

Uneven runs by Gilroy (6-1, 5-1 TCAL) were its forte all night, as the Mustangs collected 10 consecutive points in the second set to close out Christopher 25-8.

“We came through in this in-town game,” said Lucas Gravell, Gilroy’s junior opposite hitter. “It is definitely different because this is the first year that our varsity team has played them, so it felt good to see them.”

Down two sets, Christopher tried to mount a comeback in part on a tip by freshman outside hitter Emmanuel Salcedo, who gave the Cougars the early 4-3 advantage. But the Cougars lost the lead for good on the following point.

“We are getting there,” said Connor Mcconkie, Christopher’s freshman middle blocker. “We are doing pretty good. It is always harder to face seniors when we only have juniors at our school. I think we are coming along.”

Christopher’s junior setter Ryan Tabilas led the team with 27 assists, two kills, four digs and four service points. Junior libero Timothy Pham chipped in with four digs.

“Hopefully introducing them at a high level, they can quickly move on,” Medenceles said.

With the third set knotted at five, Bean’s kill supplied the first of six consecutive points for Gilroy, which controlled a 13-5 lead and carried the momentum to put the Cougars away for good.

The Mustangs would only allow four points the rest of the match, two of which came off their own errors.

“Our passing was there and we had very few errors,” Corioso said. “Even the errors we had were not ones that we couldn’t fix over a weekend.”

Gilroy returns to the court Thursday at home against Watsonville at 6:30 p.m., while Christopher will return to the court the same day at home against Gonzales High at 6:30 p.m.

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