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PHS volleyball 3 wins from making history
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Three more wins.

That’s all that’s needed for the Pitman High volleyball team to capture the Central California Conference title for the first time in the school’s short history — even though the Pride might have to share it.

The Pride’s three remaining matches seem to be automatic wins, as they have beaten Atwater High, Merced High and Turlock High each twice this season. In addition, they’ve swept the latter two teams both times.

That means the Pride can start celebrating, right?

Short answer: no.

Coach Kristen Pontes said her Pride are approaching the final three matches, with the first one today at Atwater High at 6 p.m., as “crucial to our end goal of making Pitman volleyball history by winning the CCC.” The Pride are tied with Golden Valley High for first place in the league standings with 10-2 records, with Pitman’s latest win coming in 25-15, 27-25, 25-15 fashion over Buhach Colony High on Monday.

In that last match, Vicki Rouse (11 kills, three blocks) had a big night on the net, Melinda Gonzalez led with five blocks, Julia Brewer had three aces and 19 assists and Ashley Solis was big on offense and defense with 13 kills and seven digs.

“We had mental lapses in our match last week against Golden Valley,” Pontes said, “so our goal for this match was to never stop thinking on the court and to play smart, consistent volleyball like we can, and that is exactly what we did.”

The Pride have experienced roadblocks, however. Their two league losses came against defending league champion Golden Valley and Buhach Colony, though they topped the former team twice in two closes matches.

And now, they’re focused on their final three matches. After Atwater, the Pride host Merced on Monday and travel to Turlock for the season finale on Nov. 2.

Besides chasing the league title, the Pride are seeded No. 6 in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s midseason power ratings, meaning they’d host a home match if the Division I Tournament began today.