The humidity was over 90 percent and rain began to fall by the start of the second half of Monday’s opening league matchup between Pitman and Atwater High varsity girls water polo from the Pride’s pool. But the unusual weather didn’t stop the Pride from battling a tough Falcons team to earn an 8-7 win in the first Central California Conference game of the season.
“I’m happy. Should have been a lot better, but we will take a win. We definitely could have scored more,” said Pitman head coach Erica Crain.
Opportunities were missed by both sides, and after the first period the score was tied at 2-2.
Leah Trainor and Olivia Salafia of Pitman then followed up with two unanswered goals and the Pride went up 4-2 at halftime.
Pitman goalkeeper Nellie Screen also got two of her six blocks in the second period.
The third period was all Atwater, which came out and tied the game at 4-4 by the start of the fourth.
Atwater went up 5-4, before Pitman took the lead again after adding three goals from Gabrielle Sotomayor, who notched three of her four scores within a little over a two-minute span.
Up by two with under 3:30 left in regulation, Atwater pressed once again and tied the game at 7-7 with two straight scores.
“We would counter them and then get off a bad pass and that person being countered, then they would counter us,” said Crain about Atwater’s comeback. “We were placing passes where they shouldn’t go, so when that happened they would catch up and we’re kicked out.”
Sotomayor closed out the game with a goal at 2:20 to secure the victory as the defense held on.
“Gabby Sotomayor is one of those players that takes a little to get going, but she wanted it so she got it, that’s Gabrielle,” said Crain about her leading scorer for the game.
Screen finished with six blocks and Sotomayor finished with a team-high four goals and added three steals for the game.
“Nellie did well. She definitely could have done better, but she had key blocks that we needed to keep us up which is what mattered,” said Crain.
Olivia Salafia added two goals while Leah Trainor and Hannah Pimentel each scored a goal apiece.
“I want to see us pass better and be able to communicate more on offense,” Crain added. “Our offense wasn’t really communicating till like the fourth when we got the lead. I would like to see that earlier on, not that late.”
The next game for Pitman will be on the road against Golden Valley at 5 p.m. Wednesday.