The 2016-2017 varsity girls’ soccer season will go down in history for not just the Valley but also the Central California Conference and especially Pitman.
It was the final time that soccer for girls and boys would be played during the fall or spring season. Instead both sides will be competing in the winter season along with basketball and wrestling.
“I am no stranger to it, so it’s going to be another adjustment, but after a couple seasons it will be just like anything else,” said Pitman head coach Cris Castro.
Pitman, coming off a six win season in the CCC just a year ago didn’t have very high expectations for the season, nor did Turlock High, who had graduated an abundance of seniors last year.
Both teams surprised all the doubters and went on to win more than six games each. Pitman turned things around dramatically to post a 10-1-4 league record that earned them the CCC title and their first 10-plus win season in league since 2011.
Pitman seniors Rayana Plancarte and Alexis Castro finished their careers atop the field and Plancarte shattered the goal scoring record by double digits.
The year also saw the emergence of freshman star Izzy Shallou-Enes, along with junior center back Serena Walls.
“It kind of went how I thought it would go. Very competitive and it was going to come down to the last couple weeks of the year,” said Castro. “We had so many different girls step up in different games and situations. We couldn't have done it without the entire team.”
It didn't hurt that the Pride had two players who scored 22 or more goals for the year.
Plancarte finished with 24 goals and added 16 assists. Shallou-Enes had 22 goals and five assists as a freshman.
Without the highest expectations going into the final spring year for Pitman, the Pride weren't necessarily anxious, nor did they know that the year would turn out the way it did.
Plancarte was the CCC offensive player of the year and Walls was the co-defensive player of the year.
Coach Cris Castro was named coach of the year after leading his team to post the highest scoring offense in the CCC with 51 goals. Second best was Golden Valley with 37.
The defense also allowed the second least amount of goals with 15, trailing only Merced by four.
Alexis Castro was named to the first team along with Shallou-Enes. Jazzmyn Garcia of Turlock was able to battle her way in after a more than impressive performance from a Turlock team that will lose three regular starters for next year and returns more than a dozen freshman and sophomores.
Turlock finished in fourth in the CCC at 7-5-3 with 24 points. Pitman had 34 and Golden Valley finished with 28, just ahead of Turlock for third place.
Turlock's Veronica Hernandez, who was one of the best defenders in league, made second team along with Danielle Sousa.
Pitman's two second team selections were Rebecca Linderman and Jill Leon.
“Fortunately for us as the top team in league we get the most all league picks,” said Castro. “We were able to get recognized for players who did well, because a lot of girls stood out this year. But we were fortunate to highlight some of the girls who were high up there; it was a shame we couldn't get more.”