From 2011-2016, the Pitman Pride varsity volleyball team dominated the Central California Conference, winning consecutive titles until Tuesday’s defeat at the hands of Buhach Colony marked the end of a streak.
The BC Thunder came out with a fury and looked to be on a mission when they traveled to the Pride’s gym on Tuesday and eliminated Pitman from CCC contention for the first time since 2010 after winning 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-23 and 25-23).
“Again, I said this at the beginning, this is a different team and we have different focuses and goals and unfortunately tonight our focus and goals didn’t happen,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian. “Buhach didn’t make very many mistakes, they wanted it.”
With the loss, Pitman is now 7-3 with just two league games remaining while BC goes to 7-2 and have three games left in the CCC. El Capitan is 7-3 in the CCC after defeating Merced on Tuesday.
Turlock High is currently 10-0 and needs to win one more to clinch the CCC.
“We have put ourselves in another tough situation since we have El Cap and Turlock left,” said Pontes-Christian. “Especially thinking postseason, so we are going to have to figure out how to deal with it the next week and really focus on our game and keep it consistent. I always tell our girls to stay consistent but we didn’t tonight.”
Three of the four sets were decided by two points.
Momentum seemed to swing heavily on both sides, but when BC was up, they kept it steady while the Pride folded on occasions, dropping crucial points or making errors in significant situations.
Pitman took the first set 25-23 before the Thunder, led by Boise State commit Cameron Gray, bounced back to take the second set 25-19, the largest margin of victory for the night.
The third set saw BC take an early lead, then Pitman fired back and eventually led by as many as five at 21-16.
BC managed to outscore Pitman 9-2 to close out the third with a two-point victory.
The fourth set saw Pitman go up late, 23-21, before BC once again responded, closing out the match with a 4-0 rally to complete the first win in the CCC over Pitman since Sept. 19, 2011, when BC toppled Pitman 3-1.
“They did a great job,” said Pontes-Christian of BC. “Cameron did great on the outside, and even Maggie the freshman did a great job, Miranda… and they were digging and their serve receive passing was much better than ours.”
Pitman will have to win out their final two league games if they wish to compete in the postseason.
“It’s going to be tough from here on out, we are not going to be able to play like that, we have to focus,” Pontes-Christian added. “We have to figure out how to deal with pressure and stay consistent. I felt our team work fell apart once we started making mistakes. Instead of lifting each other up, we kind of put each other down, so that is something we need to focus on as a whole and a team.”
Pitman’s next game will be senior night at home against EL Cap at 6 p.m. Tuesday.