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Defending champs Franklin knock Pitman soccer out of playoffs
Pitman soccer 3
Pitman's Ashleigh Phelps, pictured above in an earlier season game, nearly scored on Franklin in the 14th minute, but the ball sailed over the crossbar. - photo by Journal file photo

After a successful year that saw the Lady Pride soccer team finish third in the Central California Conference, the 15 seeded Pride traveled to Elk Grove to take on the number two seed in Franklin High, in the opening round of the Division I CIF Sac-Joaquin section tournament.

The Pride gave all they could, despite facing off against last year’s defending champions, but when it was all said and done only two mistakes in the second half and the inability to capitalize on opportunities plagued their chances of catching an upset and the game ended in a 2-0 loss.

“The score did not define the game because we created opportunities. We just could not capitalize a goal,” Pitman head coach Cris Castro said. “I think they did not expect much from a 15 seed to come out and play how we did. I thought we could’ve won, but we give them credit they are very good, excellent team.”

The Wildcats of Franklin, who have not lost all year and are currently ranked sixth in state, did not have an easy win.

Pitman nearly captured an opportunity just 14 minutes into the first half after Ashleigh Phelps had a wide open look inside the 10 yard mark, but the ball sailed just over the cross bar as she put too much leg in it.

“Pretty even game we went back and forth,” Castro said. “We could have changed the game if we scored early on; it was just bad luck.”

The Pride would once again see many opportunities slip away on offense as they struck 10 shots on goal, along with more corner kicks than the Wildcats.

Franklin’s size, speed and experience helped them at the end as they kept their cool after the first half and just three minutes into the second, they were able to net the first score of the game, beating the Pride's very young back line.

Only 15 minutes later the second score came from Franklin and by then it was too late for a Pride rebuttal as Franklin moved another player to defend and it became nearly impenetrable for the Pride to counter.

 “Overall it was a great game, the girls played hard, I just wished we had the win but it wasn’t meant to be,” said Castro.