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Hawks soar by one over Pride
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Pitmans Brayamn Navarrete, left, passes the ball to a teammate while being chased by Central Valleys Juan Martinez. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Journal

Pitman High’s boys’ soccer team visited the always tough Central Valley soccer squad on Thursday in one final preseason matchup, only this time it was the Hawks who trounced the Pride in a 1-0 game.

After the Pride toppled the Hawks last year 3-2 at Pitman, the Hawks looked to seek out revenge and take back the upper hand and they did so rightfully.

The Hawks Osvaldo Yepez struck the only goal in the 22nd minute of play from the 14 yard mark after receiving a near perfect cross from Juan Martinez and this proved to be it despite the Pride playing consistent all game long.

“You play well sometimes and other times you play bad, but today was good, the results just didn’t show it. it’s a good way to wake up for league and you just learn from it,” said Pitman captain and center back Ricky Ramirez. “We just gotta keep our heads up no matter what happens.”

The only disappointment of Thursday’s non-league contest was the inability for the Pride to find the back of the net.

A critical chance for a tying score came in the 29th minute of play when Miguel Galdamez found a crease in the defense and crossed a pass to Jonathan Galdamez inside the goalie’s box but his touch was too late and the ball got away from him for a goal kick.

“The scoring aspect is one of our concerns. I guess you can play excellent game and dominate, but at the end of the game you won’t get the max points if you don’t score and that’s it,” said Pitman head coach Oscar Mercado. “We just have to finish and capitalize and score goals, make our goals count.”

The defense led by Ramirez and Bradlee Taylor was as efficient as any team controlling the back line and holding down the headers but the CV defense was just a tad better.

“I am pleased with how this team possessed the ball and circulated it,” said Mercado. “The defense has picked up also.”

Pitman has also been suffering from injuries early on in the season, with the biggest impact and injury being forward Fernando Maldonado who is in his third season at the varsity level.

“That’s why we keep a good number of players to rotate with the injured players. It’s a long season,” Mercado said. “Injuries come to every team not just us. It’s part of the game. So we just have to work with what we have.”

After CV scored their goal it seemed that both teams picked up the pace and shifted into a more fast paced game.

Pitman came out firing away and controlling possession in the second half but the Hawks of CV kept their composure and played the way they were taught—as a team.

Their consistency at every position helped them keep pace of the game and ultimately contain every strike from the Pride.

“All these guys in the Valley and especially in our section are very good, physical and big,” said Ramirez. “Sometimes we just have to man up a bit more and body up and win air balls and second opportunity balls and just learn from that.”

The final opportunity for the Pride to tie it came in stoppage on a set piece but the CV defense cleared it away and seconds later Anthony Borges, who was substituted for Brayan Perez, struck a shot on goal from about 20 yards out but the Hawks Jesus Sanchez had no problem snagging the ball from the air.

“Whoever has the desire to win and makes the fewer amounts of mistakes and rotating lots of guys and the confidence that the team has in themselves will be another huge factor,” Mercado said.

Pitman will begin league play for the Central California Conference at Golden Valley at 4 p.m. Tuesday.