FIELD HOCKEY: One stroke away

Katrina Carter tips the ball up the field during their Central Coast Section semifinal game against Mitty at Lynbrook High School in San Jose.

Gilroy’s season came to a close Tuesday in the Central Coast Section semifinals by the narrowest of margins. The No. 3 Mustangs lost 2-1 in the second 5-on 5 shootout to No. 2 Mitty. The Monarchs won the shootout 4-3 on their final shot.

As the Mustangs huddled together for one last time following the game, an awkward silence ensued as coaches and players sat in stunned silence not wanting to believe their season was over.

Some players hugged each other while they reminisced about a season in which they have accomplished so much.

“I can’t believe we made it this far,” said Gilroy coach Adam Gemar. “It’s a shame a game like this had to come down to the goalies. Our goalie (Jackie Jauregui) did great though.”

Both teams came into the game after winning 4-0 in the previous round. Mitty (13-1-2 overall) and Gilroy (10-4-2 overall) met twice this season – Mitty won 1-0 and the teams tied 2-2 in the other.

“I thought this was our day,” Gemar said. “Mitty is always a great team. Some of the girls were a little off today. When you play a team of that caliber, sometimes the stars don’t always shine. But I am really proud of the way the girls played, and they know it.”

The Mustangs, who used just two substitutes in the game, didn’t have the depth that most of the other playoff teams had, but they still managed to compete with the area’s best teams.

“We wanted to come out and prove everyone who doubted us wrong,” said sophomore Katrina Carter. “I’ll never forget all the girls on this team and the chemistry we had.”

Gilroy’s Emma Leach, who scored on each of her two penalty strokes, also scored the Mustangs’ only goal in regulation.

“We wanted it just as bad as they did,” Leach said. “The team really came together. I would play with any of these girls on any team.”

Mitty controlled play in the first seven-minute sudden death overtime, drawing three short corners. But the Mustangs controlled the tempo in the second with two short corners and had a chance to score as time expired after a scramble in front of the net.

Leach gave the Mustangs the early lead on a short corner in the 10th minute of the game.

“I knew I could go for it because my teammates had my back,” Leach said.

Katrina Carter and Morgan Rogers made good runs down the sideline in the first half to give the Mustangs scoring chances.

The Mustangs survived five straight Mitty short corners in stoppage time before the half. But the Monarchs carried that momentum into the second half and Desiree Dei Rossi scored the equalizer on a short corner in the 37th minute.

In the first penalty stroke round:  Agustina Singh (M) shot wide, Monica Marrazzo (G) goal, Courtney Hessler (M) goal, Alex Kachakji (G) glove save, Julianna Cassara (M) goal, Katrina Carter (G) goal, Rebecca Toy (M) goal, Cassidy Andersen (G) glove save, Briana Sooy (M) wide, Emma Leach (G) goal. In the second round: Carter (G) shot blocked, Singh (M) shot blocked, Marrazzo (G) shot blocked, Hessler (M) wide, Leach (G) goal, Cassara (M) kick save, Andersen (G) shot blocked, Toy (M) goal, Kachakji (G) hit sidebar, Sooy (M) goal.

Mitty faces No. 1 Los Gatos in the championship game on Saturday.

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