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March 1, 2021

Prep Field Hockey: Gilroy blanks Saratoga, preps for Mitty in semis

SAN JOSE—It took Gilroy just six minutes to put up a crooked number on Saratoga—and the Falcons didn’t even realize what had hit them.
The Mustangs blanked Saratoga 5-0 in the Central Coast Section quarterfinals Saturday at Leland High School to advance to the semifinals. Gilroy will play rival Archbishop Mitty at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Leland.
Gilroy came out swinging and kept the Falcons’ defense on its toes—especially in the first 15 minutes. Junior Ellie Sausen had back-to-back goals in the eighth and 11th minutes to put the Mustangs up 2-0 before Saratoga even had time to react.
Both of Sausen’s goals came off Gilroy corners. On the first, she positioned herself perfectly on the left side corner and awaited the pass to poke the ball into the net. Sausen looked more like a softball player on her next goal, connecting with the ball in the air to knock it into the back of the next.
“I feel like just knowing that it’s CCS, it got everybody’s nerves up a little bit because every game really counts. Once we started playing, I think we all really came together,” Sausen said. “We were all really talking a lot and had an idea of where everybody else was. We were really, really excited to be in the game coming out.”
The always-dangerous Katrina ‘KC’ Carter scored the first of her two goals in the 12th minute with a blast to the far corner. Maddy Cox, who just missed a goal in the 10th minute, got her redemption as she scored on a virtually empty net. Saratoga’s goalie misread the ball and came out to meet Cox, but the Gilroy sophomore juked right and easily scored.
Carter scored again in the 41st minute when her shot deflected off the Falcons goalie’s glove and ricocheted into the back of the net.
“That first 15 minutes, I don’t know what to say, they were on fire,” Gilroy coach Adam Gemar said. “Maddy (Cox) was a beast and of course KC (Carter). Ellie (Sausen), not even on the goals, but playing in the midfield: her D and her stops and her passing was really good. I thought Ang (Hayes) was really good, too. Ang and Ellie was a nice combination to have one on the left and one on the right.”
Gilroy’s fast start was a pleasant surprise given the team was unsure how it would do at Thursday’s practice. The skill, Gemar said, is always there, but he was just hoping nerves didn’t get the best of his team.
“What works for us is our energy level. We get to this energy level where we’re all communicating and all having fun—that’s when we do our best,” Carter said. “The first 15 minutes of the game, we kept scoring because we were all really pumped. We kind of died off and they were on our side a lot, but then at the end of the game we realized (that) we really need to pick it up again. All our energy levels came back up and we scored a couple more.”
Saratoga started the second half strong, attacking Gilroy’s zone only to be met by the likes of Illena Garcia. And while netminder Jackie Jauregui didn’t see much action come her way, she fearlessly fought off everything that did.
With the exception of Carter’s goal in the 41st minute, the Falcons’ defense did a good job of fending off the relentless attack from Gilroy. Both Liz Clark and Morgan Rogers hammered Saratoga’s net late, but the Falcons’ defenders swarmed in front of it to keep Gilroy from scoring any more goals.
The Mustangs (15-2-2 overall) now have their sights set on the Monarchs. Their only two losses this season have come at the hands of Mitty, but Gemar is confident it won’t beat his team a third time this season.
“The first game they beat us; they were organized better than we were,” he said. “The second game we beat them. We had more shots, we had more everything, they just scored on two shots early on. Overall possession and everything, we were better. We’ve just got to be better and put balls in the back of the net. It’s all about team chemistry. If we’ve got good team chemistry, we’re golden.”
“We just have to get pumped up,” Carter added. “When we played St. Francis and we beat St. Francis, our energy was so unbelievably high. … I think now that we don’t have St. Francis to worry about anymore, we have to focus on Mitty and Mitty is our St. Francis now. We have to get our energy up, rest up and relax and collect ourselves before our next game.”

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