Game in and game out, there is no room for down time when it comes to the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mount Hamilton Division.
On Tuesday, with Archbishop Mitty in town, the Gilroy High field hockey team found itself smack-dab in the middle of a three-game stretch that includes games against Los Gatos, Mitty and St. Francis – a trio that sits ahead of the Mustangs at the top of the standings.
The last time (Sept. 25-Oct. 2) the Mustangs had to navigate the three-game obstacle course, they came out on the other side 0-3. The final loss in the streak a 5-2 ousting by the defending champion Lancers.
“That was a turning point for us,” GHS head coach Adam Gemar said, referring to the defeat at St. Francis. “That’s the game where we started to do some different things on defense – a few tweaks here and there.”
Since then, and heading into a showdown with the first-place Monarchs, Gilroy (6-3-2 in league) has posted a 3-0-1 (the tie coming last Tuesday at Los Gatos) mark to staple itself in fourth place
“St. Francis kind of hit us in the face and we knew we had to get it together,” said Gilroy senior Monica Marrazzo, who has given her verbal commitment to play for University of California, Berkeley next fall.
The rematch with Mitty, which sent GHS home with a 1-0 setback last month, had that playoff feel.
The Mustangs, staring at a chance to move themselves into the top-three mix, kept its latest unbeaten streak in tact, but allowed two unanswered goals in the second half that canceled out a pair of their own in the fourth half in a 2-2 tie against the Monarchs on Tuesday.
“I think we kind of got a little panicked in the second half,” Marrazzo said.
Cool, calm and collected through the first 30 minutes, though, the Mustangs established their game right away and used first-half goals from Ezzie Gobea and Morgan Rogers to pop out to a 2-0 halftime advantage.
But Mitty (9-1-1 in league), which is tied for first with Los Gatos, sliced into the deficit one minute into the second half when it was awarded a penalty stroke. Agustina Singh converted the stroke, burying a shot in the bottom, left corner of the cage, to make it 2-1.
“Once they got their first goal, they got all the momentum,” junior Emma Leach said.
Singh struck again with 13 minutes left, taking short-corner feed from Kelsey Hideshima and depositing it in an identical location as her first tally.
The 7-versus-7, seven-minute overtime period yielded no game-winner, and GHS goalie Jackie Jauregui was the reason why.
Four minutes into the extra session, Singh drove a clear path to the cage, taking an angle toward the right post. Her pass across the goalmouth was intercepted by Jauregui – who made five saves – and cleared out of danger.
Gilroy earned a short corner with six seconds left in overtime, but nothing came of it.
“I think we showed our fitness tonight,” Leach said, adding that a tie wasn’t exactly the outcome the team wanted. “It’s better than a loss, but we feel like we should have beat them. We are getting our team chemistry and intensity together.”
With the postseason less than three weeks away, the Mustangs, who have played for the Central Coast Section title two straight years, are in prime position to get in. But Gemar isn’t going to assume anything.
“We can’t put anything past any of these teams,” Gemar said.
Gilroy hosts St. Francis (7-4 league) at 7 p.m. on Thursday.