Four days after winning the CIF Division I Sac-Joaquin Section championship in one of its hardest matches of the season, Pitman High played Oakland Tech High in what could be argued was its easiest match.
The Pride (42-1 overall) hosted the Bulldogs in the first round of CIF Division I State tournament on Tuesday and dominated their opponents in straight sets (25-11, 25-14 and 25-6), setting up a match with San Ramon Valley High on Saturday.
“Being in NorCals, I was definitely expecting a more competitive match,” Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian said. “We were just focused on playing our game. Controlling the offense, controlling the defense.”
Pitman opened the match against its undersized opponents with a flurry of points in game one. After jumping out 20-4, the Pride eased off the gas a bit and began rotating in players from the bench.
Pitman's drop in momentum carried over into the second game where the Bulldogs nabbed a 1-4 lead — their only lead of the night — and scored opportunistic points on a Pride team that at times had its guard down.
There was an uptick to the action in the third game, however, as Pitman seemed intent on ending the night. The Pride went on runs of nine and eight points to make it 22-3 before finalizing their first-round win.
“The third game should have been how we played the entire match, but it happens,” Pontes-Christian said.
Lindsey Vander Weide finished with 12 kills and Maddy Halteman finished with 19 assists and three aces.
The Pride are now set to face the Wolves of East Bay who spoiled a potential SJS championship rematch with their 3-0 defeat of Pleasant Grove High on Tuesday. The match will be played at Pitman's gym with a start time of 7 p.m.