Future bright for Stangs water polo

Gilroy goal keeper Gianna Vanni goes up high against a Sobrato shooter during their Central Coast Section playoff match at Aptos on Saturday. By Robert Eliason.

APTOS—Gilroy saw its stellar season come to an unfortunate end as the Mustangs bowed out of the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs with a 14-5 loss to Sobrato.

Gilroy finishes the season 18-5 overall after sweeping the Pacific Division.

Coach Doug Pickford said it wasn’t so much an end but another step in the process to bring Gilroy water polo to the forefront.

“They learned how to play the game and got themselves in great shape,” Pickford said. “Arguably, for the competition that they play at, they did absolutely spectacular. There are levels above where we’re able to play at this point. … It makes it hard to really compete at that level. This is not the end of Gilroy for sure. The assent of this group and the boys too.”

Pickford pointed out that his top three scorers have more than 200 goals between them.

The Mustangs fell behind early, going down 5-0 in the first quarter.

Pickford was forced to call timeout within the first minute after Sobrato’s Helena Batey scored two quick goals.

The Mustangs went down 7-0 in the second quarter before Erika Cates scored two goals to get Gilroy back to within five.

But on the other end, Batey scored her hat trick with two goals to start the quarter and scored her fifth in the frame as Sobrato took control at the half with a 10-2 margin.

Things evened out in the second half as Gilroy limited Sobrato to four goals.

Katelyn Brolin scored two goals in the second half to match Cates’. Dillania Barnett added a goal in the fourth quarter.

Gilroy will get after it next season, but will have to do so without the three leading scorers in Brolin, Cates and Ashley Harding who are all graduating after this year.

But the Mustangs will return two juniors, including the backup goal keeper. Plus Gilroy will have three freshmen returning along with a sophomore.

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