The Christopher and Gilroy field hockey teams both advanced out of the second round of the Central Coast Section playoffs with dominant victories on Wednesday.
The Cougars (15-1-2) rolled to a 5-0 win over Homestead and advanced to a quarterfinal matchup against a St. Ignatius (6-10-1) squad that despite having a losing record earned a superior seed playing in the Santa Clara Valley League’s De Anza Division. Gilroy (16-2-2) pulled away from Presentation (1-14-1)—another school that traditionally competes in the West Catholic League but plays in the De Anza Division for field hockey—and next takes on Los Gatos, the top team in the CCS.
Both quarterfinal matchups are on Saturday, with CHS playing at Del Mar High and Gilroy playing at Los Gatos. Game times are 11am for both contests.
CHS received three goals from Cloey Turiello and one each from Carlie Silva and Katie Garrison. Cougars coach Dani Hemeon has been pleased with her team’s performance for the majority of the season. CHS won the Pacific Coast League championship for the second straight season and this could be the year it advances to the CCS semifinals.
It previously reached the quarterfinals the last time the playoffs were contested in 2019 and is looking to take the next step among the section’s elite.
“The girls played really well,” Hemeon said in a text message to the Dispatch. “I was really happy with how quickly we moved the ball. The win was a complete team effort. Looking forward to Saturday!”
Like Hemeon, Mustangs coach Adam Gemar was happy with his team’s second-round performance. Kaylin Battaglia scored two goals, and Lily Dale, Madison Krejdovsky and Marina Laroche scored one goal each in the victory. Gilroy got better as the game went along, controlling the time of possession and placing more shots on goal by a wide margin.
“I thought we played well the whole game, but the shots weren’t falling for us early,” Gemar said. “Then the floodgates kind of opened for us in the fourth quarter. I don’t know if our girls got a little hungrier or they got a little tired or if we got better, but I thought we played great the whole game.”
Despite leading just 2-1 after three quarters, the Mustangs were dominating the match. They finished with seven short corners to zero for Presentation, and they had several sequences in which they unleashed a flurry of shots in the second half. Most of their goals came on rebounds as oftentimes they were quicker to the ball.
After Battaglia scored with 9 minutes, 30 seconds left in the opening period, Presentation got the equalizer three minutes later. Neither team scored in the second quarter and at that point it looked like the outcome could go either way. However, Laroche scored a critical goal with 4:50 left in the third quarter, which put Gilroy up for good.
The goal came with the team on a short corner. The outlet pass was perfect and Laroche, who was stationed inside the circle on the right side, placed a perfect shot to the lower right corner. From there, it was all Gilroy. Battaglia scored in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter and Krejdovsky’s goal with 10 minutes to go deflated whatever hopes Presentation had at that point.
Dale scored on a rebound shot with 1:11 left to account for the final score. Ella Gallegos, Angelene Castro and Krejdovsky combined to put together some nice offensive scoring chances late, stringing passes together on the right side and making strong runs down the field.
Liliana Lerma and Maya Torres also created scoring chances by getting themselves open and distributing the ball well.
“We connected on a lot of passes and the girls had positive energy,” Gemar said. “We played our game plan and what we’ve been doing all year.”
Gemar added it’s been a joy to coach this year’s team for a variety of reasons.
“These girls are fun, they’re outgoing and they’re all friends so the chemistry is there,” he said. “It’s hard for me not to be the super serious coach when I’m cracking up on the inside because they’re so goofy and silly sometimes, but that brings in the chemistry. I love this team and it’s been amazing. No matter what happens Saturday, it’s been good.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected] and (831) 886-0471, ext. 3958.