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Pitman rolls into NorCals
Whitney Barnes spikes one over putting additional points on the board for the Pride. Pitman beat Carlmont 3-1 and are moving on to the NorCal D1 semi-final. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Coming off Saturday’s 3-1 Division I Sac-Joaquin Section title win over Pleasant Grove, the Pitman High volleyball team is already eyeing a Northern California championship.

The Pride are one step closer to reaching last year’s success in the Division I CIF NorCal state tournament after trouncing Carlmont at home in the opening round, 3-1 (27-25, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-20), on Tuesday.

“Feels great, every round that we get past is an extra bonus,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian. “We have a lot to work on before the next round since we didn’t play our best tonight.”

The Pride lacked the same intensity from the Section title game, for whatever reason, and did not play to their standards despite the solid win.

“Tonight we made the mistakes we usually wouldn’t make like little dumb errors but towards the end we started to fix it and in the next rounds we've gotta come out on fire next time,” said Pitman sophomore Whitney Barnes.

The first set was a close one, but Pitman managed to edge out Carlmont despite letting the lead slip. An eventual two-point win gave the home team the edge and set up a very rough second set for the Pride.

After losing the second set by four points, despite leading early on, Pitman went on to win their next two sets to cap off a first round win in the NorCal state tournament for the second consecutive season.

“These are the top four teams in state so we are going to keep working on really intense situations at practice and staying consistent as well as positive,” said Pontes-Christian. “One thing was that they were playing individually rather than together and when they trust each other they can beat anyone, so we will focus on working together.”

Barnes notched 17 digs and tallied 12 kills for the game and Lauren Solis finished with a team-best 21 digs.

Kiyanna Torres tallied 17 digs to go with her 36 assists and Yisel Perez was crucial with a team-high in kills at 16 as the Pride rolled into their sixth consecutive victory and fifth straight postseason victory.

“I don’t know if it’s starting over but when we get comfortable we are not okay no matter what because it is anyone’s match and every game is a championship game at this point,” said Pontes-Christian. “Every team in this bracket is going to be tough so we need to work for every point.”

Pitman will practice today and Friday, as they prepare to take on Menlo-Atherton in the NorCal semifinal, a matchup of last year’s NorCal Championship game.

 “We have Thanksgiving off, but I think long as they want it going into the match then they can roll with any team, the next one will be tough but will be fun,” Pontes-Christian added.

“Now we have to focus on winning the next game and limit our errors as a team and come out ready to play,” Barnes added. “The errors, servicing was not on point, digging was not the same, just little things.”

The semifinal match is scheduled to be at Pitman High at 7 p.m. Saturday.