The Pitman Pride girls soccer team had a crazy turn of events in their final regular season win.
Merced lost to Golden Valley and the Pride topped Turlock, essentially booting them out of playoff contention, and hoisting the Central California Conference championship.
Unfortunately that celebration only lasted a few days until they were immediately matched with not only the 8th ranked team in the state, but the No. 5 team in the bracket — St. Francis of Sacramento.
Pitman, who had only one loss all year in league, was placed as the No. 12 seed in the Division I bracket. They ultimately fell 2-1 in a distinguished bracket.
“We took them to the wire,” said Pitman head coach Cris Castro. “Our girls were not intimidated at all. I told our team that we respect who they are, reputation explains itself but we got to play hard and well and for 72 minutes we did.”
Yisel Perez had the assist to Rayana Plancarte who headed in the goal for the first strike at the 72nd minute, but things quickly shifted.
Two questionable calls in the final eight minutes, including a penalty kick and a free kick that both resulted in goals for St. Francis, resulted in the end of Pitman's tremendous run.
“As a coach, this is why you coach, to make playoffs,” said Castro. “We wanted to reach the playoffs. That was the first goal because I wanted the girls to experience what that is like. This year we had a good balance. The girls in the back line played well along with everyone. It was a great season.”
The stalemate first half was not the same as the second half provided three goals total once St. Francis found the back of the net in the winding minutes to avoid the possible upset.
“We just came up short on those two plays, but we were battling toe to toe with them,” said Castro. “We have nothing to be upset about, they all played so well. They capitalized on their opportunities and they are a good team, we just couldn't hold at the end.”