Gaugler guides Cardozo to PSAL semis
Tyler Gaugler sprained his right ankle in a scrimmage against Newcomers last Thursday and the Cardozo star outside hitter missed the playoff opener against Hillcrest.
His teammates were worried about Gaugler’s availability the rest of the postseason, even urging the junior to get acupuncture.
Cardozo coach Danny Scarola, though, wasn’t too concerned. He’s familiar with the Gaugler genes.
“The Gauglers are tough,” Scarola said. “Pain isn’t something they are accustomed to.”
Scarola knows because he also coached Tyler’s older brother Todd. He also recalls watching Tyler make his way up into the school with crutches after suffering a football injury.
“Is that the fastest you can go up the steps,” Scarola recalled Tyler’s father Larry yelling from the car. “That’s the mentality of suck it up and play. He does.”
Scarola gave Tyler a brace and the junior did the rest, guiding Cardozo to a 25-18, 25-13 win over Bryant in the PSAL quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at York College.
The fourth-seeded Judges (13-1) advance to the semifinals where they will meet No. 1 American Studies Tuesday at Hunter College. The Eagles beat No. 8 Hunter College HS in another quarterfinal Saturday.
“In the beginning of the season we had a scrimmage against them and this is when we were really bad, we lost to them to them both sets by four…I honestly think we can beat them,” Cardozo sophomore Isaac Hwang said. “We’ve come very far, we learned very much and our skills increased a lot.”
With Gaugler sidelined, Hwang stepped up against Hillcrest in the opening round. The outside hitter continued to play with confidence throughout the playoffs, including Saturday’s quarterfinal where he had six kills and three aces.
“I think Isaac started playing more aggressively,” Scarola said. “This kid is a superior player. I don’t think he realizes how good he can be. The guy has ups and it seems like he stays in the air for 20 minutes on each hit.”
Against fifth-seeded Bryant (14-1), Gaugler and Hwang weren’t the only hitting standouts. Jung Min Shin had five kills, Paul Kim had four and first-year senior middle hitter Moses Park had three.
“We have a lot of depth on this team,” Gaugler said. “We have two great middles [Paul Kim and Moses Park], we have Jung who is a great weak-side hitter and me and Isaac can hit the ball. Our setter has a lot of options.”
“When we do that and spread it around, that’s when we’re playing our best,” Scarola said.
It’s an advantage, Hwang said, the Judges can use against undefeated American Studies in the semifinals.
“Unlike some teams where they have one great hitter and they constantly go back to them, eventually it becomes a pattern and we can pick it up,” he said. “Having a variety of hitters is a really big offensive key.”
After taking a close first set, 25-18, the Judges led 14-11 and closed out the match strong, going on an 11-2 run to oust the defending PSAL champions.
“Momentum is key,” Gaugler said. “Once you get that momentum, you just have to keep going with it, play with a lot of energy, keep your serves in and pass well.”
Contact Dylan Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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