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Pitman soccer settles for draw against one of CCCs best
Pitman High’s Maricela Meza, right, battles with a Merced High defender in a Central California Conference game on Monday afternoon. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
When it was all over, there weren’t too many happy faces along the sideline of the Pitman High girls soccer team. Nor were there sad faces. Players changed their shoes and packed up their stuff after a hard-fought day at the Turlock Sports Complex against one of the top teams in the Central California Conference.
Perhaps they expected a different outcome.
“We could have done better,” junior midfielder Karina Maldonado said.
Instead, the Pride settled for a shutout tie against Merced High — one of the league contenders that forced Turlock High into a 1-1 draw earlier in the season — on Monday afternoon. The Pitman players weren’t completely happy because in the second half, they controlled the pace of the game and had a number of opportunities to score.
In other words, they were close to winning.
The most notable shot happened toward the end, when Hannah Verschelden fired one at the left corner of the goal before Merced goalkeeper Stephanie Isenberg sacrificed her body for one of her 13 saves. Verschelden said it appeared that the ball hit the goal line, though the referees thought otherwise and declared the match scoreless at that point.
“It went on the line,” Verschelden said. “Our team thought it was a goal. They thought it wasn’t.”
Yeah, it was that kind of match. It was back-and-forth throughout the match, with the Pride owning a 10-8 shot advantage. Both teams had a strong defensive day, as Pride defenders Maricela Meza, Vanessa Serrato and Sierrah Miller held the back line while goalkeeper Bianca Anaya (nine saves) had a strong performance.
“Every time the ball went up in the air,” senior midfielder Mayra Flores said, “we competed for it.”
Both Pitman (9-3-2 overall, 3-1-2) and Merced (7-1-2, 4-0-2) entered the game hoping for a win, which would slide them closer to four-time defending CCC champion Turlock (12-0-1, 5-0-1).
“It was like, ‘This is for second place,’” Verschelden said. “We’re all fighting really hard. Both of the teams really wanted it. We pushed people up and we worked the offense. That was our goal.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.