Turlock and Pitman High varsity boys water polo teams were both 4-0 heading into Wednesday’s league matchup — putting first place was on the line.
Turlock played hosts and last year’s Pitman head coach Colin Wenstrand was taking on his former team for the first time. In the end the Bulldogs topped the Pride in a wild concluding game that saw rain and some exciting goals ending at 8-5.
“The good news is that this is probably one of our stronger performances on defense, and Pitman is an amazing team,” said Wenstrand. “They are one of the best and they are putting up 16 goals against teams we can barely beat, and so we had to step up our defense today and we did.”
Turlock is now sitting atop the Central California Athletic League standings at the halfway mark with a perfect record of 5-0.
Pitman falls for the first time in league play and for the first time since Sept. 14 when they fell to Lodi 11-10.
Five of the six losses from Pitman have been by three goals or less.
Pitman’s current CCAL record sits at 4-1.
“This is old school water polo and they shot at wall mounts, and it’s a smaller venue, but we didn’t play well. Turlock came out ready to play and they put us in a hole and we tried climbing out of it all night but we couldn’t and it’s the way things go,” said Pitman head coach Mark Garrett.
It also didn’t take long for rain to begin to fall and the battle to start.
Taylor Ward of Turlock kicked off the game with his first of three just four minutes and 54 seconds into the first when he put the ‘Dogs up 1-0.
Ward followed up with a nice assist to set up teammate Matteo Pascolati for the second goal about 50 seconds later that put Turlock up 2-0 to open up the second quarter.
Matthew Reis struck the third goal for Turlock when the clock read 4:50 left till halftime, but then Pitman responded almost immediately with a goal of their own.
Ethan Woodruff of Pitman scored the first goal with 3:25 left till halftime to cut the lead to 3-1.
This was it for the half, however, as Turlock notched two more goals, from Ward and then Lance King as time expired and the halftime read 5-1.
Turlock goalkeeper Brandon Dhanowa finished the first half with six saves.
Cole Marchy of Turlock extended the lead in the third quarter with 6:24 on the clock to make it 6-1.
Ward completed his hat-trick with 2:48 left till the third ended and the score read 7-1.
Pitman’s Joe Carlson scored for the Pride just before the third ended and the score read 7-2.
Pitman outscored Turlock 3-1 in the fourth, but by then it was too late as Turlock’s defense was able to stymie the Pride.
Turlock will next take on Gregori at home at 3 p.m. Monday.
Pitman’s next game will be on the road at Modesto High at 3 p.m. Monday.