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Full blast
Thompsons soaring late goal lifts Bulldogs past Pitman
Pit-THS soccer pic1
Turlock High forward Sara Latham, middle, chases for the ball between Pitman High’s Karina Maldonado, left, and Vanessa Serrato in the annual rivalry game on Wednesday afternoon. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
There was a long, dramatic pause before Turlock High midfielder Emily Thompson unleashed a shot her coach would later refer to as “a well-shot ball.” Because only moments before that, the dozens of people who sat in lawn chairs while being covered in blankets to stay warm on a cold March day, watched Pitman High’s Iatzity Sanchez remained motionless on the Turlock Sports Complex soccer field after a nasty collision.
It took about 30 minutes before the paramedics arrived to carry her away, stalling a once back-and-forth game.
But it didn’t take long to bring back the excitement, after Thompson blasted a high, floating shot in the 71st minute to the top right corner of the goal to give her Bulldogs an important 1-0 win over their crosstown rival on Wednesday. The win improved Turlock’s record to 12-0-1 overall and 5-0-1 in the Central California Conference before the second half of the league reboots after spring break.
In the process, the Pride (9-3-1, 3-1-1 CCC) suffered their first league loss but also sent a message that they can contend with the three-time league champion in Turlock. It was evident that the Bulldogs weren’t going to walk over Wednesday’s opponent, considering Pitman’s Karina Maldonado headed in a shot two minutes in that hit the crossbar before the ball nearly dropped behind the line of the goal.
“That was so early in the game,” said Cassidy Costa, Turlock’s top defender, who had a solid day with goalkeeper Andrea Rosas (four saves). “We weren’t thinking and we weren’t marking up and we definitely picked up after that.”
Both teams did a lot of on-field assaulting. It definitely was a heated rivalry game between two teams aiming for the league’s top prize. The first half produced a combined 11 shots, with the Bulldogs finishing with a 16-5 edge, though the closest to a score at that point was the one by Maldonado.
The goal-kicking frenzy reached its peak when Pitman defenders were keying up on Turlock’s most dangerous scorer — senior Sara Latham — resulting in Thompson’s score from about 30 yards out. Latham noticed the double-coverage and sent a pass to Thompson, and the Turlock crowd erupted in cheers.
It was a much happier scene than the one minutes earlier, when Pitman’s Sanchez fell to ground screaming after a hard collision. Coach Oscar Mercado said that Sanchez painfully banged up her knee and couldn’t move, prompting paramedics to carry her out on a stretcher before being lifted into the ambulance.
Mercado did not know how serious the injury was after the game.
When the game was over, Turlock coach Dennis Bishop was pleased with his team’s outcome. He knew he had escaped a game that could have easily went the other way.
“This helps us, it helps a lot,” he said. “Both teams played ridiculous soccer. We played very well when we play against each other. So it makes a lot of fun. Everybody plays hard when you got all the people here.
“It’s real special.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.