Cynthia Sanchez scored 21 seconds into the match. Maggie Trigo tallied two minutes before the end of regulation. In between, the Gilroy High girls soccer team survived a handful of San Benito chances to claim a 2-0 victory in Tri-County Athletic League action Wednesday night in Gilroy.
“It was a great game,” GHS head coach Jose Hernandez said. “Our first league game at home. It’s nice to be at home. It’s a good ‘W’ and we will work with it.”
The Mustangs played their first two TCAL tilts on the road – 7-0 and 7-1 wins. Offense was at a premium on Wednesday, however.
Sanchez stepped in front of a pass as San Benito began to sort itself out on its own side seconds after the opening whistle. The speedy junior then got the angle as she glided into the box to deliver the blink-and-you-missed-it goal to put GHS up 1-0. It was Sanchez’s 10th goal this season.
“That was a mistake, and you know, when you play a team of that caliber, they take advantage of it,” San Benito head coach Ben Alvarez said.
The Balers earned the better chances the rest of the first half, nearly tying matters on two occasions: Mikayla Irvin’s shot missed inches left in the 34th minute, and in the 36th minute, a well-executed give-and-go run up the left sideline between Kaitlyn Fontaine and Brianna Bengivengo showed promise before GHS goalie Alejandra Aceves interrupted Fontaine’s cross in front of the net keeping it from its desired target – Bengivengo.
“We recuperated quickly and created some great opportunities up top,” Alvarez said.
Eight minutes into the second half, San Benito best equalizer opportunity bounce off the post – a bitter conclusion to a play that had all the makings. Kristin Callanta chased down a long ball and toed a pass to Chace Miguel, who had the entire net to choose from. But the shot skipped left off iron and out of harms way. With five minutes to play, Karly Leon booted a free kick from 30-yards out just over the cross bar. The ball trickled down the back side of the net, sending the Balers’ faithful into a frenzy for a moment. But it wasn’t to be.
“It is what it is. I care about having a good performance. And I felt that it was a good performance,” Alvarez said.
Trigo iced the match three minutes later with a gritty individual effort, taking the ball at the top of the box, fighting through two defenders and sliding the ball home.
Neither team exited the pitch completely satisfied, and a couple players walked away limping after the as-expected physical contest.
The Mustangs’ catalyst in the middle, Taylor Slattery, was limited with a bum right hamstring, while San Benito’s force in the midfield, Victoria Perez, missed the latter portion of the second half with a right knee injury.
“Taylor’s injury changed the tempo for us,” GHS head coach Jose Hernandez said. “It’s difficult when your quarterback goes down. It was the first time this season that we had to adjust like that. But the girls did what they could. We were focused and prepared. It’s a young team and we are going to have those highs and lows. San Benito didn’t let us rest or breathe.”
Gilroy (5-4-1 overall, 3-0 TCAL) is back on the road Friday at Alvarez, while San Benito (4-4-2, 1-1-1) hosts Notre Dame.