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Pitman girls soccer secures third straight league title
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Lillyana Rodriguez scores a hat trick in the first half of the Pride’s game against Downey on Monday (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

The Pitman High girls soccer team already notched a spot in the playoffs, but with their win over Downey on Monday, the Pride secured their third straight league title. The game was highlighted by a hat trick by Lillyana Rodriguez.

“The girls worked really, really hard,” said assistant coach Alberto Perez. “The ones subbing in helped out a lot as well. We played as a team together all season.”

The first part of the first half was a defensive battle, but the Pride started playing aggressive on offense and were getting to the goal consistently. The first goal was scored by Mya Sanchez in the 15th minute courtesy of a long distant strike. The goalie had her fingerprints all over this win, with not allowing any goals by the Knights and contributing with three assists along with the goal.

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Pitman’s Hannah Delay gets free on a break to the goal (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

The rest of the first half was dominated by Rodriguez, who scored goals in the 17th, 25th and 31st minutes to secure a hat trick in the first half. The sophomore changed positions for this game and the Knights couldn’t keep up.

“She went from a midfield to forward and they weren’t able to adjust to that,” said Perez.

The second half was where the Pride really locked in on defense and never gave the Knights an opportunity to get into the game. The few opportunities Downey had to push the ball into Pride territory was handled by Sanchez, who will be playing Division I soccer for the Oregon State Beavers next year.

Kiara Hernandez extended the Pride’s lead in the 62nd minute with a clean strike. Tiana Karr put a bow on the game with the final goal in the 83rd minute. Pitman now sets their sights on the playoffs where they are looking to repeat their success from the regular season.

“We have to keep things the same going into the playoffs,” said Perez. “Thank God everyone has been healthy and there have been no injuries. We don’t have a lot of girls right now, but we don’t have any injuries which is good.”

The Pride finished with a 17-2-2 record overall and 8-1-1 record in league. Pitman will host the first round of playoffs against Bear Creek at 6 p.m. Friday.