Gilroy High freshman Katherine Carillo possesses the ball in the Feb. 17 CCS quarterfinal match against Los Gatos. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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Gilroy enjoyed its best girls soccer season in 11 years, winning its league and reaching the Central Coast Section playoffs. The 13-3-4 campaign was highlighted by a superb 7-0-3 record for first place in the Blossom Valley Athletic League, Santa Teresa – East Division. 

In the CCS Division III playoffs, the No. 7 seed Mustangs fell 4-1 at No. 2 Los Gatos on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Wildcats later won the CCS championship in that division and are currently in the NorCal D-III semifinals as a No. 2 seed.

The Mustangs’ fine year continues a big upward trend. Excluding the partial Covid season, Gilroy has earned CCS berths in three of the last four full seasons. This comes after a six-year playoff drought.

In the 10 league matches this year, Gilroy allowed just five goals. Victories came against Christopher by a 1-0 score, Mt. Pleasant twice, both by 2-0 counts, Live Oak by 3-1 and 2-1 margins and Evergreen Valley twice by 1-0 scores. The Mustangs tied Christopher 1-1 in the rematch and tied Silver Creek 1-1 in both meetings.

The pre-season ledger included wins over Sobrato 4-1, Santa Teresa 3-0, Yerba Buena 10-0, and a trio of wins over Pacific Coast Athletic League, Gabilan Division teams. The Mustangs beat powerhouse Hollister 2-1 and a strong Monterey team by the same score, along with a 4-0 win over a rebuilding Alisal side. 

After a loss in the opener to Soledad and star Sophia Martel, the Mustangs were 13-1-4 with just nine goals allowed, before the CCS match. Beginning with the turn of the calendar to 2024, the Mustangs had eight wins and three ties in 11 matches, with just five goals allowed, leading into the Los Gatos contest.

In the CCS defeat to Los Gatos, in-game injuries and the elite talent of the Wildcats were too much to handle. The sole Gilroy goal that afternoon came on a hard line drive shot by Kamryn Krejdovsky from about 15 yards.

In 2023, the Mustangs were 9-4-4 and head coach Efren Pineda indicated at the start of this year, he was unsure how good the team would be. What transpired was impressive.

Annelise Lerma, Jade Moncada, Madison Krejdovsky and Kamryn Krejdovsky were stalwarts of a strong offense.

Zinnette Diaz, Hailey Moncada, Vanessa Corona, Katherine Carillo, Dahlia Saavedra and Natalia Arvizu were major forces both in the attack and on the stifling defense. Aliyah Garcia and Kiara Prophet also contributed. 

On the backline, Addison Tait and Bryanna Gales paired with keeper Brooklyn Epps to shut down most all opponents. A background factor is that many of the players are also on the stellar Gilroy field hockey team.

“The season progressed really well,” Pineda said. “We have meshed well. We communicate well. And our center backs keep the group connected and tight.”

Los Gatos was too much for the Mustangs but the Wildcats also defeated many other strong teams and are one of the best in CCS. Gilroy’s season remained a big success and a large portion of the squad is young and can return. 

Carillo, Prophet and Hailey Moncada are freshmen. Diaz, Kamryn Krejdovsky, Garcia and Epps are sophomores. Tait, Lerma and Corona are juniors. 

Graduating seniors Jade Moncada, Madison Krejdovsky, Arvizu and Saavedra will be missed and wished well.

Gilroy High’s Annelise Lerma gains control of the ball against Los Gatos in the CCS quarterfinal match Feb. 17. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
Gilroy High’s Addison Tait throws the ball into play against Los Gatos on Feb. 17. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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