The top two teams in the Central California Athletic League met Wednesday in a crosstown showdown between Pitman and Turlock High varsity girls soccer in an extra damp and windy game from the Pride’s complex.
Both sides found it tough to get a clean touch on the ball, on a day where the winds peaked at nearly 30 miles per hour, but when the final whistle blew, the Turlock Bulldogs continued their winning ways securing their 10th straight win, 3-1.
“Personally, as a player and coach, I hated playing in the rain and wind because you cannot predict where the ball is going to land especially going against the wind,” said Turlock head coach Temo Arteaga. “You know you cannot play the ball in the air, rain didn’t help since it was cold out here, but both teams are playing in this weather so you can’t complain; just some mistakes and we made the least mistakes.”
Heading into the game, Turlock was ranked No. 66 in the state and No. 134 in the country. The Pride of Pitman were No. 119 in California and No. 248 in the country.
“I told the girls they need to hold their heads up high because there are still two more games in league … we need to put those games away and play Turlock one more time, and hope to stay in the top two,” said Pitman head coach Annabel Perez.
It is also the first loss for Pitman since Dec. 8, when they fell to Hanford, 2-0.
Pitman’s record after the loss is 9-3-1 overall and 2-1 in the Central California Athletic League.
“I’m happy with the girls. They are still developing, I wouldn’t say they are quite there yet, but they have improved, fixing what they need to and they’ve been improving overall and doing well,” said Perez. “I think the next time we face Turlock it will be tough, it always is.”
Turlock is 14-1-1 overall and off to a 3-0 start in the CCAL.
“I think this was going to be our toughest challenge, mentally and physically,” said Arteaga. “It proves if we can beat the other teams, we can only beat ourselves.”
Megan Drew of Turlock broke the game wide open in the 23rd minute.
Drew snagged possession of the ball and from about 30 yards out, kicked it to the top far corner of the net, beating a diving Mya Sanchez of Pitman.
Following the full stretch attempt, and perfectly placed goal, Pitman nearly tied it with five minutes left in the first half after Izzy Shallou-Enes struck from about 24 yards out, but the goalkeeper made a save.
Turlock took its 1-0 lead into halftime then added two more in the second half.
First, Alexandra Sousa scored on a penalty kick for Turlock at the 56th minute to make it 2-0.
Pitman continued to press forward as much as they could, until Alexis Bagnani ended the shutout in the 59th minute when she struck the back of the net off a ricochet.
Drew then found Daisy Martinez for the third and final goal for Turlock after she placed a perfect pass inside the goalie’s box in the 77th minute.
Drew (Stanislaus) gently placed a corner kick inside the goalie’s box, where Martinez immediately tucked the ball with her head into the back of the net, leaving everyone stunned and frozen for a second.
“Megan’s goal was a phenomenal goal let me tell you that right now, I have not seen that yet in high school I don’t think and then her great pass,” said Arteaga. “It was phenomenal for her and it did set the tone and gave us confidence going into the last 20 minutes.”
“I don’t think the weather favored either one of us, but they capitalized on our mistakes and countered on us, we weren’t able to put away some shots either,” Perez added.
Pitman will next take on Gregori from home at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Turlock will next take on Modesto High on the road at 3 p.m. Wednesday.