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Bulldogs defeat Pitman; even cross-town series
Turlock Soccer 2
Turlocks Efrain Ochoa maintains his concentration on the ball as he attempts a shot on Pitmans goal during the second half of Saturdays 1-0 Bulldog win. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

The Turlock High boys soccer team bounced back from two weeks of disappointment with a 1-0 victory over rival Pitman High on Saturday. In an always appreciated night game, the Bulldogs (3-3-3 CCC) asserted control over the Pride (3-2-5 CCC) for most of the match, a complete reversal from the first matchup against Pitman which ended in a loss.

“They were really excited, especially since it was a night game against Pitman on a Saturday,” Turlock’s head coach Doug Sperry said. “It’s exactly what we needed.”

Turlock’s 2-1 loss to Pitman on the Sept. 28 was the beginning of a four game slide for the Bulldogs. Injuries, mistakes, and low levels of confidence resulted in three losses and a tie for Turlock; marring its record and keeping its boys out of first place in the Central California Conference. Saturday marked the end of the rough patch, however, as a second half effort helped turned things around.

“We lost some key players for the year due to injuries, so I think the guys got down and forgot what we’re capable of,” Sperry said.

After a first half that saw multiple shots hit the goal post and cross bar, Turlock’s Martin Castoren provided a spark for the blue and gold with a quick goal inside the 6th minute of the second half. Castoren’s teammate threw the ball into play from the sideline, giving the junior enough room to make a mad dash for Pitman’s goalie. Castoren beat his defender and took his shot from point blank range, sending the ball past the extended left arm of the Pride’s keeper and into the net.

“It was the perfect time to have that game,” Sperry said. “I thought we were controlling the game and making the best of our opportunities.”

Turlock spent the remainder of the match controlling the midfield and limiting Pitman’s shots on goal.

“We did a good job holding on,” Sperry said.

The momentum from Saturday’s win carried over to Tuesday’s match against Merced High where Turlock defeated the third place Bears 3-0. The Bulldogs currently sit in second place in the CCC behind the Pride who holds a slight lead over the field.

Pitman dropped Tuesday’s match against Atwater High but gets a chance to rebound into the winner’s bracket on Thursday when they host Merced High. Turlock also plays on Thursday, traveling to Atwater to face Buhach Colony High.