VOLLEYBALL: GHS out of sync in loss to Monterey

Gilroy's Lucas Gravell, left, and Connor Escobar celebrate a point scored against Monterey during their match Tuesday.

The Gilroy High boys volleyball team knew it had to contend with Monterey High kill leader, Stephen Dorsey. That challenge isn’t new to the Mustangs or any opponent, really. Dorsey, a state meet medalist in the high jump last season, will get his points. He registered an unassuming 17 kills in an otherwise even matchup between the Tri-County Athletic League’s last two league champions Tuesday night.

Dorsey aside, it was the Mustangs’ self-inflicted wounds that became the variable with the most impact.

GHS surrendered 38 of Monterey’s 103 points in the match via unforced errors, many occurring at achingly inopportune times during a 25-20, 28-26, 22-25 and 25-19 Toreadors victory in Gilroy.

Monterey (14-6 overall, 10-0 TCAL), which plays in the Coastal Division of the TCAL, remains the lone unbeaten squad in the 14-team league. GHS (15-11 overall, 8-2 TCAL), members of the Valley Division, are now 2-2 against Coast Division squads. The other loss came against Watsonville (8-2 TCAL), where, again, errors played a major factor.

“We ran numbers after that Watsonville match and we have, with errors, given up 450 points out of 1,000,” GHS head coach Craig Martin said. “You can’t win games with 45 percent errors. We drilled so much yesterday, and today, look what happened.”

Despite the one-step-forward-two-steps-back feel to the match, the Mustangs still managed to keep themselves within striking distance – which, more than anything, added to post-match frustrations.

GHS rallied from as many as five down in Game 1 to knot the proceedings at 18-18. However, the Toreadors beat the Mustangs to the finish line with a 7-2 run to stake out to a 1-0 set lead.

The Mustangs had Monterey down 23-20 in Game 2. But in a blink of an eye a pair of Dorsey points, another from Mat Nuttall and one from Arjay Estanislao the Toreadors were serving for the set.

Connor Escobar, who led GHS with 15 kills, tied it with one of those, and Lucas Gravell blocked a Dorsey attempt down for a point and a 25-24 Mustangs lead. GHS fought off another set point and made it even again before two straight points ended the pursuit and had Monterey up 2-0.

Resilient in Game 3, Five Escobar kills, a Gravell block point, a Troy Charvet ace and a pair of kills from Jonny Lester aided the Mustangs in keeping the match alive with the 25-22 set win.

The boost didn’t carry over into Game 4, though, as Monterey built a five-point lead midway through and kept that gap in tact to the match triumph.

Lester finished with 11 kills, Gravell had six kills and Greg Spellman had 31 assists for GHS.

The Mustangs travel to face cross division opponent Seaside on Thursday night. That match parlays into the second half of Valley Division play, beginning with San Benito, which holds a half-game lead on GHS in the standings Gilroy beat San Benito in the league opener early in March.

“We still have to battle because we have to make sure we hold serve in our half of the league to get us back into the league title hunt,” Martin said.

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