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Pitman soccer can’t handle one of nation’s best in semis

Pitman soccer can’t handle one of nation’s best in semis

Pitman High midfielder Karina Maldonado (11) tries to keep the ball away from a Davis Sr. High defender in Thursday's semifinal game of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament in Davis.


POSTED May 20, 2011 9:46 p.m.

DAVIS — After getting shut out in the biggest game of the season, the players and coaches of the Pitman High girls soccer team quietly and quickly grabbed their bags and equipment from underneath the visiting bench at Halden Field at Ron and Mary Brown Stadium, the home of Davis Senior High.

Pitman was humbled.

But the Pride’s 7-0 loss to the Blue Devils didn’t make them think negatively about their season. They wrapped it up here — in Thursday’s semifinal game of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament, a nice consolation prize for a team that had missed the two previous postseasons.

“I’m definitely very happy with this team,” senior forward Annabel Perez said. “I think we were very successful this year.”

So the Pride aren’t going to let Thursday’s thumping define their season. It was, in fact, against a team that is ranked 15th in the nation — according to the latest ESPN RISE girls soccer poll — and has a youth national player in Anna Gilbertson. Before the game, the Blue Devils’ only blemish was a 1-0 loss to Franklin High in the Delta Valley Conference finale.

Pitman, however, entered the game missing two senior starters.

Davis will now face defending champion St. Francis High in the Section title game today at 4 p.m. at Cosumnes Oaks High in Elk Grove.

“We played under a few circumstances that kind of didn’t complete the team today,” Pitman coach Oscar Mercado said. “Nonetheless, I had confidence in the team. They had confidence in themselves. Something like that always affects it, because the chemistry isn’t completely there.”

It showed early on, as Davis’ Gilbertson knocked in the first of her two goals in the 23rd minute. After that, it seemed as if the offensive attack was nonstop. The Blue Devils issued a 5-0 halftime lead, more than enough to secure the win against a shorthanded Pitman team. Sarah Sadler of Davis finished with three goals.

“I think it was one of those off days,” Pitman’s Perez concluded. “Any other day, we could’ve had a better day. Today, we were just off. I think we had a little bit too much insecurity in our heads.”

The Blue Devils wrapped up the thumping about midway through the second half, leaving the Pride with few scoring opportunities throughout the afternoon. But the Pitman players and coaches can take some pleasure from having a season that included a Central California Conference title and two playoff wins — highlighted by Thursday’s 1-0 overtime win over Lodi High in the Section quarterfinals.

“This doesn’t take anything away from the season,” Mercado said. “Today was one of those days that all the mistakes we didn’t do in the season we committed today. I’m just proud of the girls for having the opportunity to be here. I told them I was grateful for giving me the opportunity to go this far.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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