Just before the big crosstown “Harvest Splash” between Pitman and Turlock High water polo teams, the Pitman Pride had to finish off their penultimate league matchup in the Central California Athletic League on Wednesday against Enochs.
The Pride came out on top against the Enochs Eagles from home, 9-3.
“It was a great game for our girls and they stayed calm, cool and collective and they showed a great level of maturity. I could not be prouder of how they finished the game and bonded together and closed out strong,” said Pitman head coach Michaela Richter.
The number of contentious calls or missed calls by the refs was obvious as both coaches objectively agreed on some miscues.
They continued to play the best they could, but the intensity increased in the final minutes.
“We talk about controlling what is going on in the water and not letting the outside affect it and not let whatever the refs are calling affect it. I just want our girls to be safe and it got a little questionable right there and both of us coaches agreed it was out of hand,” said Richter.
Pitman took a 4-1 lead with just under two minutes left till half. The Pride then outscored Enochs in the third, 3-1, taking a 7-2 lead heading into the final seven minutes of play.
Pitman outscored Enochs in the fourth, 2-1, and notched the 9-3 win.
Following the win, the Pride’s league record goes to 7-2.
“We are right there with Gregori, fighting for second place and we knew that going in this was a big game for us, but our girls played very well, despite everything, I am very proud of my girls,” said Richter.
Five different players scored at least a goal for the Pride: Joelle Lok, Jennavieve Van Oostende, Paige Silva and Maddy Ngo.
Ngo finished with two goals and two steals. Van Oostende managed to get a hat-trick for the game while Silva added two goals and Lok added a goal, six steals and an assist.
“We are ending with a winning season, and making the playoffs for the second straight season, and with only three returners from last year, that is huge. I am over the moon for these girls, they earned everything they got,” said Richter.
Pitman and Turlock will square off from the Bulldogs pool for the regular season finale at 3:30 p.m. Monday.