Three days after the Infinity U14 field hockey team made history by winning its division in the prestigious California Cup tournament, assistant coach Ted Thomas was still on Cloud Nine and trying to process it all.
After all, the Gilroy-based Infinity Sports Club—which also fields several soccer teams—had never won the Cal Cup in any age division since it started playing in the annual Memorial Day weekend competition around 10 years ago.
The U14 team made history in the championship match by knocking off powerhouse club program Texas Pride Blue out of Houston in penalty strokes at Moorpark College in Thousand Oaks. Thomas knew it was a big deal when other teams in the tournament started cheering for Infinity after it took down Texas.
“It felt like everybody wanted Infinity—this little small Gilroy club—to take down this huge beast of a club in the Texas Pride,” Thomas said. “And we did it.”
Infinity played six games over three days. It squeaked out a 1-0 win over HTC of San Diego in its opening contest before drilling the Strykers of San Jose, 10-0. On the second day of competition, Infinity played the same Coastal Clash team twice, winning by identical 5-0 scores.
On Memorial Day, Infinity edged Key Biscayne of Florida 1-0 in the semifinals before knocking off Texas in penalty strokes after the game was tied 2-2 after 50 minutes of regulation play. The U14 roster includes Kamryn Krejdovsky, Alyssa Montejano, Audrey Graham, Danica Lopez, Emma Moreno, Hailey Moncada, Kaitlyn Nguyen and Skylar Walters.
Thomas assists his partner and the head coach of the team, Stacey Myers. Infinity’s U19 team, coached by Gilroy High’s Adam Gemar, finished third in its division. The U19 roster includes Ang Castro, Annelise Lerma, Ella Gallegos, Ella Miura, Jade Moncada, Laurel Lopez, Lili Lerma, Lily Dale, Madison Krejdovsky, Maya Torres, Skyler Turiello and Erin Castro.
The U19 team won the bronze medal with a 1-0 win over Huntington Beach. Turiello, a recent Christopher High graduate, scored the game-winning goal off an assist from Ang Castro of Gilroy High. Gemar said goalie Erin Castro made some outstanding saves on a couple of breakaway shots to keep the game tied before Turiello’s score.
“The kids were happy, the parents were proud and it was awesome especially playing against some of those bigger programs, especially NorCal (Impact), which had a lot of great seniors going to D1 colleges,” Gemar said.
The Infinity U14 squad literally needed contributions from every single player on the roster as it had only eight for the 7-on-7 tournament. Thomas said Lopez and Nguyen were solid anchors on the team as both scored and set up several goals. Moncada scored the only goal of the game against a talented Key Biscayne team in the semifinals.
“Just huge,” Thomas said. “Those three girls had played previously, but out of the eight girls we brought, four of them are in their first year of ever playing field hockey. But they didn’t play like they were first-timers. The girls played so stinking well all weekend long. They took down some giants, and us being a small club from Gilroy, it’s really remarkable. Every now and then you can be giant killers.”
The biggest giant Infinity slayed, of course, was the Pride, who entered the championship match having outscored their opponents by a margin of—get this—47-2. Infinity had outscored its opponents by a dominating 21-0 margin. But Thomas said Texas was the clear favorite to win the match.
“They are a really big, strong and expensive club,” he said. “They are the Patriots and Yankees of youth field hockey.”
Montejano came up clutch, scoring the tying goal two minutes into the second half to make it 2-2, the score that stood up before the match went into penalty strokes. Additionally, Montejano was the only player who scored in the strokes session.
“That’s the one that made the whole thing explode,” Thomas said. “Taking down Texas was pretty crazy. We went to the shootout and every team the Pride beat up on was there watching to see if we could beat them.”
Krejdovsky made a couple of spectacular saves in the strokes, including one that had Thomas’ jaw dropping.
“Their No. 11 player shot it and Kamryn made an amazing save,” Thomas said. “I’m sure the Texas player thought the ball was going in, but Kamryn had a cape on and she flew across the goal and saved it.”
Thomas praised Moncada for playing multiple positions and getting out of her comfort zone, and Lopez and Nguyen did the same. Graham scored the lone goal against HTC, and Walters tallied three times against the Strykers.
“And she had never scored a goal in her life,” Thomas said. “Things like that made the journey this team went on unforgettable. It’s a moment these girls will remember the rest of their lives. Gilroy should be so proud of these girls.”
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]