In one particular sequence in the fourth quarter, the Christopher High field hockey team peppered the Gilroy High goal, unleashing four shots in rapid-fire succession.
None of those shots went in, but it was a microcosm of the match. The Cougars had superior time of possession and sizable shots on goal advantage, and though they missed more often than not, they found the back of the net enough in a 2-0 win on Wednesday.
“I wish we could’ve capitalized a little more on those opportunities, but to get those opportunities and the passes that led up to those opportunities took a lot of work,” Cougars coach Dani Hemeon said. “I’m very happy how we used our center, outside and people running down the line. Just very good sequences I’m very happy about.”
Mustangs coach Adam Gemar liked his players’ effort but knew they had more miscues than Christopher, which ultimately cost them.
“We made a lot of mistakes and that’s why we lost,” he said. “But they forced those mistakes. We have to go and get our A game now. We have a lot to work on, but I’m also happy with a lot of stuff the girls did.”
Christopher scored both of the game’s goals in the second quarter. On the first score, the Cougars had a penalty corner when Mia Katsuyoshi launched a shot from the top of the circle to the front. Carlie Silva then touched it to Caitlynn Holt, who scored with 2 minutes, 55 seconds remaining until halftime.
The Cougars’ second goal was equal parts highlight-reel material and fundamentally sound. Cloey Turiello was on the left side of the circle when she sent in a perfect cross field pass to Silva, who was on her knees when she poked a shot past the Gilroy goalie.
“That was a textbook play you always like to see,” Hemeon said. “It was beautiful.”
Gilroy’s scoring chances were more sporadic, as it went long stretches without putting shots on goal. The chances the Mustangs did have were good ones, but they couldn’t capitalize on them. Annelise Lerma, Marina Laroche and Liliana Lerma put together some nice sequences, and Madison Krejdovsky was very active and around the ball making plays.
Gemar noted the strong play of goalies Ameera Kleder Barnes and Erin Castro, and liked how the team played in the second half as compared to the opening 30 minutes.
“In the first half we were not ready for their pressure, speed and skill,” he said. “They possessed the ball more in the second half, but at least we were able to match up. I thought our girls played awesome in the second half.”
Gemar also noted the play of Angelene Castro and Ella Gallegos as both of them moved up from defense to help spark the team’s offense.
For Christopher, midfielder Taylor Mejia was even more active than usual, and that’s saying something. Mejia was literally all over the field making things happen and once again playing a huge part in the Cougars’ time of possession advantage.
“Every game you have to give at least some of the credit to Taylor Mejia,” Hemeon said. “When we make a mistake, even if she is on one end of the field she’ll save it for us. She sees the field so well, makes beautiful passes and starts almost every goal that we eventually score.”
Hemeon said Katsuyoshi brings poise at defender, Silva and Cloey Turiello were making things happen up front and Skyler Turiello had a great game playing the center from her usual outside position. Cougars goalie Aesha Sandoval also had a couple of nice saves to preserve the shutout.
The Cougars literally have talent at every position as Emma Davis, Katie Garrison and Miranda Tuz along with others all impacted the team with either solid passing, shots and strong runs to help the team keep possession.
“I can literally talk all day about each of the girls as making a contribution to the victory,” Hemeon said.
Both teams are having fine seasons. Gilroy dropped to 7-2-1 with the loss, while the Cougars improved to 6-1-1. Their only defeat came at the hands of St. Francis, who along with Los Gatos are likely the two best teams in the section. CHS is knocking on the doorstep, though, and Hemeon hopes a breakthrough is imminent.
“We were right there and St. Francis just capitalized on one more opportunity than we did,” she said. “Hopefully we get to play them again down the line. I think we’ll make the right changes to set up our defense against their offense. I really want to play them again and want the girls to have an opportunity to play them again.”