It’s been an impressive start this winter season for the Pitman Pride girls soccer team and first-year varsity head coach Annabel Perez.
Pitman is now 8-1-1 overall after kicking off league play in the Central California Conference with a 1-0 victory over Golden Valley on Friday afternoon from home.
“We had our girls be a little nervous and we had some girls out due to being sick and I am sure they had some out as well because it’s the winter break. It’s tough to get them out here, but they did well,” said Perez. “Good step forward, nice to start off with a win. It’s a tough game against a tough team because they are always good.”
The Pride tied with GV back on Dec. 9 in the Pitman Tournament, 1-1.
This time, the Pride were seeking the victory but it did come with early jitters in their final first CCC contest — they are moving to the Central California Athletic League next season.
“We’ve just been working on a lot of set plays, that is how we tied with them during tournament play,” said Perez.
In the opening minutes, Pitman fought possession and was able to maintain the ball on their half of the field, although on occasion GV made a push, but the defensive back-line anchored by Alexia Caballero made it difficult to get past.
Pitman broke the 0-0 draw at the 24-minute mark when Izzy Shallou-Enes worked her way down the by line and crossed the ball to the far end, finding Landyn Mills wide open with no goalkeeper in front of her.
Mills then followed up with a heel touch into the back of the net to give the Pride the 1-0 lead.
The Pride managed to maintain their one-goal lead heading into halftime.
In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, GV looked determine to press.
They were able to counter and nearly create opportunities to tie it, but once again the Pride defense managed to clear away any opportunities while goalkeeper Alexa Teixeira made a couple of clutch saves in the final third of the game.
At the 60th minute, GV’s Carlie Garcia drilled a shot from the top part of the penalty area from about 24 yards out, but Teixeira made a diving save to push the ball out of play.
With just over 15 minutes remaining in the game, the intensity and speed picked up as multiple fouls were called, including a questionable yellow card being called against Shallou-Enes.
Caballero and Teixiera both saved possible goals from going in during the closing 10 minutes on multiple occasions and the Pride held on for the one-goal win.
“I think we played well. I think we had a lot of good plays where we communicated well and did what we practice a lot and we did that today,” said Perez. “The girls actually are improving on what to do without the ball, so they are improving little by little and bringing it out as league started.”
Over their last three wins, Pitman has outscored their opponents 7-1.
Pitman’s next game will be on the road, a game that was postponed earlier in the week due to bad air quality, at Atwater High at 3:30 p.m. Monday.