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Central Valley hands Pitman first loss
pitman boys soccer
Pitman High’s Luis Manriquez runs past a sliding Central Valley defender during Wednesday’s 2-1 loss from home (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

This year’s Pitman High Pride varsity boys’ soccer team got their first taste of defeat on Wednesday afternoon from home when they dropped a 2-1 match to Central Valley High in their eighth pre-league match--a match they controlled for most of the game.

“That is a good team and well coached, respectful guys and great guys over there,” said Pitman head coach Brian Hofsteen of Central Valley.

CV’s head coach Omar Leon has built a consistent and winning program while with the Hawks — including six conference titles, 10 playoff appearances and five Sac Joaquin Section Championship games.

CV is currently 6-2-3. Gerardo Flores notched a pair of goals for the Hawks on Wednesday.

Pitman controlled possession for most of the first half and saw well over half a dozen chances, including two open opportunities by Felipe Lopez that saw CV keeper Erick Martinez make diving saves.

CV saw just as many chances throughout the game, but only the two goals from Flores fell.

Flores also nearly found the back of the net, yet again, on two separate occasions in the first half, but Pitman’s defense prevailed and were able to hold off after 40 minutes.

After a slippery first half that saw shots and passes being missed, the stalemate was broken in the second half.

In a 70-second frame, CV went up 2-0 after Flores finally hit the back of the net.

In the 59th minute a cross came into the penalty box from about 40 yards out, but Pride keeper Angel Ruiz-Hernandez came out to punch the ball in a crowded area.

From there, the ball slipped past everyone and Flores found it alone and tucked it away with a heel shot from about six yards.

About a minute later, Flores then found the back of the net again after a Ruiz-Hernandez miscue that left Flores wide open for a shot from about eight yards away to go up 2-0.

Prior to that, Pitman nearly scored on two separate opportunities.

Adrian Diaz and Lopez nearly scored within a four-minute frame to kick off the second half.

Lopez saw his third opportunity miss on a one-on-one scenario after Luis Robles set him nicely with a cross inside the penalty area, but Lopez shot the ball to the far side and it sailed just outside the far post.

“I don’t think the surface had anything to do with it since we have played in these conditions many times, we just missed some opportunities. We controlled the pace in the first half,” said Hofsteen. “You have to know these kinds of games come around, they just have to pick themselves up and get back to where they were.”

Where they currently are is the No. 4 team in California according to

After the loss, Pitman is 7-1 overall, while they are also sitting at No. 16 in the country.

Pitman will next host Modesto High in the Central California Athletic League opener at 3 p.m. Jan. 9.