Turlock and Pitman soccer squads ended their 2013 regular season in the Central California Conference with a maniacal contest that resulted in a 3-2 win for the ‘Dogs on Wednesday.
“Any time we play Pitman it is a pretty big deal,” Turlock head coach Doug Sperry said. “Our kids are always excited about it but it was a tough spot, because we unfortunately knew we were out of the run for playoffs. Even though we have a great group of seniors, we had injuries and different things going on. But even through the ups and downs the kids never quit. They’ve done a great job and have continued to work hard I am very proud of them.
The Pride’s Grant Tallent struck first within 10 minutes, but Turlock responded eight minutes later as Jose Aguilera drained a penalty kick with ease. That proved to be the theme of the match as both squads went back and forth but it was the Pride that ended the half with a 2-1 lead as Shawn Bassi was able to head it in the back of the net.
“The first penalty kick was uncalled for, I think. Sometimes certain calls can help you, but other times it hurts you. It’s just the nature of the game,” Pitman head coach Oscar Mercado said. “I think that everybody that came saw a great game with five goals scored.”
Turlock buckled down by the start of the second and it was Victor Orozco who netted in a deflected shot from Aguilera to tie the game at two each in the seventh minute.
The ‘Dogs defense was extremely physical despite playing with only three defenders in the back. It was enough as they shut down the Pride offense in the second allowing no goals.
“Turlock played well. We talked to the kids before the game about various concerns and they had that in mind, but also being a cross town rival tensions always tend to build,” Mercado said.
In the closing minutes Aguilera worked his way around defenders in the goalies box as he drained what would result as the game winner.
“Our league is so competitive it is always tough to come out on top because near the end of the year everybody seems to be beating up on each other and hopefully we will learn some lessons this time and year and moved forward next year,” Sperry said.
Pitman having already clinched the CCC a while back finished the year with a 12-3 record going into the postseason. The Turlock Bulldogs were able to tack on a 6-9 league record and missed the playoffs placing second to last in the CCC.
“We have not made the playoffs for a while so it will be a great experience for this team especially because it’s a young squad. Any team that advances to the playoffs from the CCC is pretty prepared, nonetheless, playoffs is a whole different tournament because everybody prepares differently. It’s win or go home,” Mercado said.