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Bulldog boys claim second place in CCC after win over Pride
Boys Polo 2
Noah Benson (4) of Turlock High gets a steal during Wednesdays crosstown matchup against Pitman. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

The possibility for a first-place three-way tie in the Central California Conference for varsity boys water polo was real in the final game of the season for Turlock and Pitman high.

Two things had to happen: Turlock beat Pitman and Buhach Colony lose to Atwater.

Only one of those happened when the Bulldogs topped the Pride 14-6 on Wednesday night from Pitman's pool as Turlock waits for their pool to be fixed.

“They knew the potential of a three-way tie so I kept feeding the scores, so they knew,” said Turlock head coach Sonja Raynes. “But I think they have meshed together and I think now we just have to add some things and make sure we are taking high percentage shots, just little details, making sure we are precise and subtle moves, little finesse things like that which can be the difference.”

“The commitment and enthusiasm of these young guys coming up has been amazing and so today was a little different because Turlock was just shoulders above better than us,” said Pitman head coach Colin Wenstrand.

Turlock concludes the year with a CCC record of 10-2, placing second in the standings after BC topped Atwater in their final game of the year. BC's only loss in league was to Turlock.

Turlock took the early lead on Wednesday after just one minute and four seconds and never gave it up.

Matt Hesse of Turlock followed Noah Benson's strike with a second goal about two minutes later before Pitman got on the board with a Brady Gutierrez goal to make it 2-1 with 3:34 on the clock in the first period.

“I think Matt Hesse was the poster child player he was just swiping the ball away, they didn't even know it was coming,” said Raynes.

Turlock went up 5-2 after the first and Dylan Bernardi of Turlock finished his hat trick with eight seconds remaining in the second to take a 9-3 lead at halftime.

Turlock outscored Pitman 5-3 in the second half as they held on and secured a solid positioning in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

“I think overall the season, my goal was to bring more finesse and mix it in with strength I just wanted to help out a bit,” said Raynes. “We controlled the ball and kept stealing. The seniors were happy playing and for me as a coach, a side note, it’s great to get everyone to play as well.”

The Pride of Pitman finish the year with a 2-10 CCC record and will be looking forward to competing in the newly developed Central California Athletic League next year with coach Wenstrand returning six of seven starters.

 “Like told the guys, 2018 starts tomorrow. Overall, I couldn't be happier for this group of guys, they really bonded and the team mantra was 'family,' and it was all on them so these guys they treat each other like family and brothers and they are buying into it,” said Wenstrand.