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‘Balers Throttled by Rival Mustangs in TCAL Girls Soccer
Opener
Once the goals started coming, the San Benito girls soccer team just couldn’t stop them.

And Gilroy’s first score came only two minutes into the game, making it a very long afternoon for the Haybalers.

Once the dust cleared, San Benito was left with a 7-0 loss to its northern neighbor in the TCAL opener for both teams.

“Not the way we wanted to start league,” said San Benito head coach Mike Schurig. “We didn’t anticipate a 7-0 thrashing.”

Behind a four-goal outburst by JoAnn Pedroza, the Mustangs used their superior footwork and selfless passing to keep a step ahead of the ‘Balers throughout.

“We just didn’t have things going our way today,” said San Benito sweeper Brittany Huth. “We made too many mistakes and they scored on every one of our mistakes. We just overcommitted and didn’t mark on [a] player and they just got through.”

Gilroy took the game in its hands right off the bat when Mustangs forward Brittany Barnes gathered a cross from Pedroza and powered it into the right corner of the ‘Balers net.

San Benito (4-4-1, 0-1 TCAL) looked primed to answer right back when ‘Balers forward Rachel Maheu dribbled down the left side of the field and used a nice cutback to lose a Gilroy defender, but Maheu’s shot was right at the Mustangs goalie in the 4th minute.

The ‘Balers managed just one more shot in the first half.

Meanwhile, the Pedroza Show began in earnest for the Mustangs. After notching her first goal in the 13th minute, the senior forward followed up with No. 2 just before the end of the half.

On a Mustangs’ counterattack, Pedroza battled with ‘Balers defender Sarah Mullen only to escape near San Benito’s penalty box. Pedroza’s shot caromed off the right post and into the ‘Balers’ goal, putting Gilroy up 3-0 at the half.

Pedroza added goals in the 58th and 73rd minutes to complete her outstanding afternoon.

“My adrenaline was pumping,” said Pedroza, who finished with four goals and an assist. “I just wanted to keep scoring. I didn’t want to stop.”

In seeing his team get outshot by a margin of 26-6, Schurig believed the ‘Balers’ offensive futility was clear cut.

“Unless [we’ve played] a weak defensive team, we’ve had a tough time muscling it in,” said Schurig. “[We need to] work on these girls fighting for something and not just waiting for that through-ball because there are times when they can’t just have a no-pressure dribble to the goal. Sometimes you’re going to have to fight with somebody.”

Gilroy (1-4-2, 1-0 TCAL) had no such problems. Consistently making the extra pass, having the patience to wait for a play to develop and feeding the ball backwards to rework a possession all proved effective tools in the Mustangs’ arsenal.

“We’re slowly developing our team chemistry and passing,” said Gilroy head coach Jose Hernandez, whose team notched its first win after enduring a grueling preseason schedule. “Our goal today was to open it up to the outside and hit the inside.”

After enduring what Schurig termed “a humbling,” the ‘Balers know they have a laundry list of things to improve on.

“Running, transitioning, passing, communication, aggressiveness,” said San Benito stopper and center midfielder Carly Brigantino. “We need to be a lot better conditioned.”

With North Salinas coming to town tomorrow, the ‘Balers have the opportunity to quickly wash their hands of this defeat.

“It’d be nice if we can at least split before we go to the break,” said Schurig, “but we’ll see what happens. [We] don’t want to be embarrassed like that again.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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