Gilroy High senior Maya Torres will help lead the way for the Mustangs girls field hockey team this season. (Thien-An Truong/special to the Dispatch)
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The geographical center of Central Coast Section girls field hockey expertise and success lies within the city of Gilroy as both local high schools are among the section’s elite.

With September ending and the season at the halfway point, Gilroy High is on top with a 4-0-1 record in the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mount Hamilton Division, while Christopher High is just a step behind at 3-0-2. 

When asked about his team’s success, Gilroy coach Adam Gemar smiles and points at his players.

“They’re a fun group,” he said. “It’s the chemistry which makes them successful. And they pick things up super fast and work together as a team.”

The Mustangs own an 11-0-1 overall record with an amazing 62 goals scored versus just one allowed.

They ended the month with a home league contest on Sept. 28 versus Leigh—a strong team that’s in a virtual tie with Willow Glen just behind Gilroy and Christopher. 

Gilroy pulled away for a 3-0 win, with junior Annalise Lerma tallying all three goals.

Their win was highlighted by a superb midfield that shackled Leigh and constantly turned play back to the offensive end, a watertight defense and a strong offense that repeatedly attacked the Leigh goal.

“Our passing was a key,” Gilroy senior Madison Krejdovsky said. “Passing and tracking back on defense. We play as a team.”

The initial score came with 9:32 left to play in the first 15-minute period. Lerma bolted right up the middle and beat the goalie. The score remained 1-0 until the fourth period when she scored twice more.

“On the first one, I got a pass from Addi (Addison Tait),” Lerma said. “She put it up and I got it and scored off the goalie’s left foot. The second was on a corner. Maddie (Krejdovsky) hit it straight across. I leaned back to lift the ball up and it went top shelf.”

That tally, with 7:15 remaining in the game, gave Gilroy a cushion. At the 3:17 mark, Lerma scored again, cashing in a rebound of a Kamryn Krejdovsky shot.

Lerma’s hat trick brought her total to 12 goals scored this season. That mark is highest on the team but depth on the Mustangs roster has several others right behind her. 

Allisa Schwender, a junior, has tallied nine goals, followed by the Krejdovsky sisters—Madison and Kamryn—each with seven goals. Maya Torres has five goals.

“Leigh is tough,” Gemar said. “They’re one of the better teams. To beat them 3-0 is amazing. Lise (Annelise) is a workhorse. She never tires. She runs and backchecks. And her hand-eye coordination is really good.”

Gilroy’s success comes from many areas. The midfield shut down the Longhorns’ attack most of the day. That crew features Jade Moncada, Addison Tait, Madison Krejdovsky, Brooke Baza, Kamryn Krejdovsky and Ella Gallegos.

“The players in my midfield are masters,” Gemar said. “The other teams can’t get behind us. They are so good that I only play two on defense. And my goalie Erin (Castro) made a couple great saves today.”

The two defenders, Marina Laroche and Cecelia Method, work closely with Castro.

“The key is our communication and chemistry,” Castro said. “I have really good communication with both my defenders. They really understand where I am and what I am doing. Their positioning is great.”

The Mustangs reached the CCS semifinals in 2022, where they lost, 1-0, to eventual champion Mitty High.

As an illustration of the geography in field hockey, it was the Cougars who opposed Mitty in the championship match and also lost by just a 1-0 score. 

Christopher currently owns a 9-1-2 overall record with 64 goals versus five allowed this season.

Gilroy has reached the section finals six times, winning only in 1983. The last championship game appearance was in 2011.

“We lost some seniors and we had a lot of new girls,” Torres said. “We had to rebuild. We’re strong and we’re going to get stronger. We know each other well and we play simply to have fun together.”

At the midway point, Gilroy has the second-best record in the CCS just behind Los Gatos, which holds an 8-0 mark.

“In the beginning, we were finding ourselves,” Lerma said. “Now we are really in a groove. We’re hoping to go as far as possible. We hope to do something big.”

The lone game in which Gilroy was not victorious was a 0-0 deadlock with Christopher back on Sept. 15. The two city rivals meet again at Christopher High on Oct. 12 at 5pm.

The Cougars are a bit behind in the league standings due to a tie with Leigh and a 1-0 non-league loss in overtime against Mitty. 

“We knew we were one of the top teams in our league,” Madison Krejdovsky said. “We’re going after Christopher and Mitty. I think we have a good chance. But we are taking it game by game. To win one game at a time.”

Next up, Gilroy will host Redwood High (10-2-2, 8-1-1) out of the Marin County League in the CIF North Coast Section on Oct. 9 at 4:30pm. 

Christopher will host Branham (7-3, 5-0) on Oct. 10 at 5pm. 

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