Prep Soccer: Gilroy edges closer to league title

Gilroy's Carlos Jimenez works to get off a pass as Alvarez keeps a tight defense during their game Tuesday.

GILROY — The Gilroy boys soccer team defeated Everett Alvarez, 3-1, in impressive fashion in their home finale on a windy Tuesday night.
Tuesday was also Senior Night and a ceremony was held before the game bidding the team’s seniors farewell. This helped create a particularly electric atmosphere for the game with several of the seniors’ families in attendance.
“I just wanted to play well, especially on Senior Night as a thank you to my parents for everything that they’ve done for me,” senior Luis Urias said.
Gilroy and Alvarez played a closely contested first half. Senior co-captain Carlos Jimenez scored in the 24th minute for Gilroy and junior Christian Santibanez scored the lone goal of the game for the Eagles in the 32nd minute. The score was tied 1-1 at halftime.
“I think we all came out with a lot of emotion at the beginning of the game since it’s our last home game, but we knew we all needed to settle down in the second half and play our game just like we do in practice,” Jimenez said.
“The mood is real festive on senior night and we’re smiling and having a good time, but it deterred us from the game a little bit, so it took us more than 40 minutes to really get established in this game,” added Gilroy coach Armando Padilla.
The Mustangs came out strong after the break, executed their game plan and pulled away in the second half.
Two minutes into the second half, coach Padilla made a bold statement: “I predict someone’s gonna score within the next five minutes.”
His premontion came to fruition with seconds to spare as midfielder Luis Urias scored in the 47th minute, giving Gilroy a 2-1 advantage.
“Wanna buy some lottery tickets?” joked Padilla. When asked how he could have possibly predicted something so accurately.
“You can just feel it,” Padilla said with a wide grin.
Junior David Solorzano sealed the victory for Gilroy with a goal in the 70th minute for the final score.
The excitement could be felt in the air and players began celebrating knowing they had all but locked up the win.
Coach Padilla reminded his team to stay focused with the two-goal lead and 10 minutes still left on the clock.
“Hey Gilroy! No need to get too excited. There’s still lots of time left,” he said.
Emotions were running high throughout the night, as multiple yellow cards were issued during the game and a red card was issued to an Alvarez player in the waning minutes.
The Mustangs were able to hold it together and celebrated with photographs on the field following the game.
“The kids worked hard tonight and it was difficult with all the wind that was blowing, but I thought we played really well overall,” Padilla said.
The implications of the game were not lost on the coach nor the players.
“We haven’t won a league title since 2011 and prior to that was 2007, so it seems like it’s a cycle, every three or four years and I think we’re due,” the Mustangs coach said.
“It was a big game because we knew it was for a shot at a championship match against Alisal for a chance to win the league,” Urias added. “We started off slow in the beginning of the year, but as the season went along, we figured out that we’re the best team in the league and we’ve come out with results.”
Gilroy improved to 13-2-3 overall and will face Alisal at 5:45 p.m. Thursday on the road for the league title.