‘Stangs shake slow start vs. ND

At the start, it was a lackluster effort against a last-place team.

So with his Gilroy girls’ soccer squad in a scoreless tie at Notre Dame Thursday, head coach Jose Hernandez took a minute at halftime to remind his second-place Mustangs of what was at stake.

“I told them there were four more league games and this was not the way were supposed to be playing,” he said. “They were definitely playing a little overconfident – one of those ‘just show up and beat them’ type deals.

“They looked sick, tired, asleep …”

Maybe so, but they awoke in the second.

About 20 minutes in, Kristi Figueroa found Erin Sterner, who tapped it to Alysha Davis for the game’s first score. It was the senior forward’s team-leading 13th goal of the season.

Ten minutes after that, Joann Olivo-Pedroza gave the Mustangs a 2-0 cushion.

And with freshman standout Sarah Hugo in goal, that’s all that was needed against the Spirits (5-10-4/0-5-2).

“Sarah was very solid … again,” Hernandez said.

And again, Gilroy was able to put together a solid second half.

“First half was a little flat,” Olivo-Pedroza said, “but the second half wasn’t. That’s always our best half.”

Added Hernandez: “We woke up and played like we were supposed to.”

The key now, the second-year coach said, is “finding out the secret to starting like that.”

By improving to 4-1-2, the Mustangs (13-4-2 overall) retained their second-place position in TCAL.

After Wednesday’s match at North Salinas, Gilroy closes out its regular season with two huge home games: Feb. 4 against first-place Live Oak and Feb. 9 versus third-place Salinas.