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Bulldogs, Pride look to finish atop league once again
Pitman girls soccer
The Pitman High varsity girls soccer team is practicing at their new facility and is expecting a successful season (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Turlock and Pitman girls soccer teams were among the best in the inaugural Central California Athletic League last season after finishing in the top two spots. 

Turlock finished the year without losing a single game in the CCAL, clinching the title after going 9-0-1. 

“Regular season was strong and we got past the first round of playoffs which was good, so our hopes were up, then second round came around and we hit a wall,” said THS head coach Temo Arteaga. 

While Turlock won nine straight CCAL games during the regular season, it was the Pride of Pitman that gave them their lone tie for the year in league play. 

Turlock girls soccer
The 2019-2020 Turlock High varsity girls soccer team is pictured after a practice last week (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

It came in the final game of the regular season back on Feb. 6, with a 1-1 tie. 

Both earned a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, and notched first round wins. 

“I think we finished the season pretty strong. We lost a lot of quality seniors; we had 12 last year,” said Arteaga. 

Turlock ended the season with an overall record of 21-2-2 after the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I playoffs, and are looking to repeat that similar success and more.

They ended up ranked No. 91 in the state and No. 238 in the country. 

Turlock has a roster of 24 this year and coach Arteaga is expecting to have some players assisting, depth wise. The main goal though, is to accomplish more than last year. 

“My main focus is on playoffs, I don't care how we get there, I want to get past that second round. The girls coming back remember and are motivated,” said Arteaga. “Last year was tough, but I tried to make this year’s schedule tougher and we will go to Sacramento and test the waters out there a bit, and then we also picked up Tracy from last year, great battle and will go to Danville and play some Bay Area schools, so we have some tournaments that should help prepare us for league and then hopefully playoffs.” 

Pitman capped off the season with an overall record of 15-5-2 and second in the CCAL with a record of 7-2-1.

They finished the year ranked No. 155 in California and No. 394 in the country. 

“Last year we were a little young, not too young, and this year we have some returning seniors and we look more developed since they have been playing together for a lot longer. It is their year to finally shine and really come together as one this year,” said Pitman head coach Annabel Perez. “Our minds have been improving this year and I think one way or another we will get there and continue to grow.” 

The Pride said goodbye to four-year varsity star Izzy Shallou-Enes, but 13 should be expected to return from last year’s playoff team. Returners include sophomore goalkeeper Mya Sanchez, who started as a freshman last year and earned CCAL Goalie of the Year.

“Mya is definitely a key player and we are lucky to have her. We have some key seniors returning and Landyn Mills will be key and also some sophomores that came up this year we pulled up for playoffs,” said Perez. “I feel good since we have a lot of returners, so I think we have a strong core still returning. We are still improving as we go and move forward, but I think overall it should be a good season.” 

A total of 12 players were underclassmen last year and are expected to be back for a Pride squad that reached the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section quarterfinal round and gave the Turlock Bulldogs their second draw of the year last season. 

“The girls definitely want to finish atop league, we have come close so many times, too many times now, so the girls definitely are focused with league and taking it as they go, but for now league is their top priority,” Perez added. “I always set the bar high and try to get them to push themselves. We have definitely been pushing these last few weeks, whether it is endurance or any other work on the pitch, they know that I expect a lot from them, and we need to work on our touches and drills, and hopefully it helps now that we practice on turf with our new facility.” 

Pitman will start their season on the road against Sierra at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 3.

Turlock will host Tracy at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 10.