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D-1 shocker: No. 4 Pitman upsets No. 1 Oak Ridge
Pride heading to Section finale for second straight year
PItman volleyball
The Pitman High volleyball team poses for a picture after defeating Oak Ridge in the Division I semifinals on Tuesday. - photo by Photo Contributed

Pitman shocked the high school volleyball world on Tuesday after upsetting the No. 1 team in the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section bracket, Oak Ridge.

Also ranked as the No. 7 team in state and No. 28 in the nation, Oak Ridge was the heavy favorite to overcome the Pride but head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian and her squad were prepared.

Ranked No. 47 in California along with No. 258 in the United States, it seemed like a longshot to pull off the upset but the Pride came out with a ferocity that wasn’t usually there—until Tuesday night.

The fourth seeded Pride came out with a game-plan to counter Oak Ridge by making them run out of system.

Needless to say, it worked. Pitman’s defense was superb, the blocking was sensational and overall the 2015 roster for coach Pontes-Christian played their best match of the year, pulling out of Oak Ridge with a 3-2 stunner [25-21, 18-25, 25-16, 18-25 and 15-6].

“Still in shock… I told the girls that everyone stepped up, they were confident and trusted each other, best volleyball we played all year long,” said Pontes-Christian.

It wasn’t easy, against arguably the highest seeded team in the Section, but with the help of Whitney Barnes, Lauren Solis, Katie Willet and Kaylin Randhawa the Pride defense played an immaculate match.

“It was fun. Going into it we knew our blockers had to work hard and serve tough and set up quick offense so that they don’t get back too crazy, but it worked,” said Pontes-Christian.

Once Pitman shocked Oak Ridge in the first set by four points, the opposition knew it would not be a cake walk.

Oak Ridge went on to win the second set which Pitman followed up with a nine-point win in the third to take a 2-1 lead.

With the help of Willet and Randhawa’s ability to block nearly every kill attempt, Barnes and her teammates managed to rock through the rest of the way with the help of Solis’ ability to dig nearly everything.

“Our blocking was on all night and we knew that would be a huge factor,” said Pontes-Christian. “Also the alarm went off multiple times, but I kept telling the girls not to lose focus and just worry about ourselves, and it worked out in our favor.”

Barnes finished with 14 kills and Yisel Perez added 13 for the game.

Randhawa and Willet each came away with five blocks each and Solis ended the game with 22 digs. Kiyanna Torres finished with 30 assists and the Pride handed Oak Ridge only their third loss in 38 matches this season.

“I think we were a bit nervous, but at the same time we had nothing to lose,” Pontes-Christian added. “Our girls stepped up and really all of our girls stepped up. We could not have done this without the entire roster.”

Pleasant Grove will have the opportunity to redeem themselves after losing to Pitman last year in the Division I Section Championship game at Tokay High at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“They will want redemption from last season, we need to stick with our plan because we played good volleyball and we will continue to work on quick offense and tempo and staying consistent so the other team makes a mistake.”