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May 25, 2022

Prep Volleyball: Mustangs hang tough in loss to ‘Catz

GILROY—The Gilroy volleyball team fell in straight sets to Watsonville, but gave the visitors a run for their money along the way.
The Mustangs lost 23-25, 13-25, 20-25 to the Wildcatz Tuesday at home, but never quit even when the score was lopsided.
Gilroy found itself in a 0-6 hole early in Game 3, but didn’t roll over. Gabby Martinez put down two kills and Jasmine Rodriguez added another in conjunction with an ace from Evelyn Clonts which helped the Mustangs tie the game at 7-7.
The Wildcatz regained control and took a 20-12 lead, but Gilroy capitalized on its opponents’ mistakes to get right back in the game, trailing 17-20. The Mustangs had Watsonville diving all over the floor, trying to save kills from Sarah Weiby and Gloria Bernal, but were unsuccessful. The two teams battled through late rallies, but the Wildcatz gained the edge to seal the victory.
“She (Weiby) consistently kept the ball in play and made the smart plays,” Gilroy coach Paolo Palao said. “Jasmine Rodriguez, she came in clutch quite a few times actually—she kept the ball alive. My right fronts know that if my setter takes the first ball, it’s their responsibility to take the second. Both her and Concetta Fredricks did a great job of seeing that as it’s happening and knowing that it was their responsibility to take that ball, keep us alive and keep the momentum going for the rally.”
Gilroy held a 10-5 lead over Watsonville in Game 1, but the Wildcatz offense found its rhythm and clawed back to tie the game at 15-15. It was a back and forth game from there on out as each team tried to gain the edge. Weiby ended a long rally with a kill to the far side of the court to keep the Mustangs alive at 23-24, but Watsonville scored two quick points for the win.
“The game was really close,” Gilroy libero Desiree Cundiff said. “That’s all we can ask for is to play hard and get up there with them.”
The Mustangs found themselves in a 12-4 deficit in Game 2 due to short serves and miscues, but they didn’t give up. They scored three points off two kills from Weiby and an ace by Sarhay Luna to trail 12-7 and keep the game in reach. Weiby and Bernal peppered in two more kills before the match was over, keeping their team in the game.
While the score didn’t go in their favor, Martinez said she was proud of her Mustang teammates for their performance against Watsonville.
“Honestly, I thought we did good,” she said. “We were working together and we had fun. We got a lot of hits and we were just working together as a team which is what we want to do.”
Gilroy (2-11 overall, 1-7 in league) has just four games left in the regular season, it’s next coming against Monterey at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at home. As the season wanes on, Palao said he’d like to see better serve-receive and serving from his team, though he was impressed with that facet of the team’s game tonight.
“I firmly our team has the potential to keep up with any team as long as we’re in play,” he said. “Getting there, but not being able to serve it in and missing serves is what kind of gets us down when we’re not able to get the ball in play. Once we get the ball in play, we’re on completely level ground with any other team in this league in my opinion.”

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