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Pitman volley falls in NorCal semi
Pitman volley
Pitman volleyball ended their season with a loss to Menlo-Atherton High in the NorCal semifinals match on Saturday. The Pride have a lot to boast about this season, however, winning the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section title and splitting the Central California Conference with crosstown rivals Turlock. - photo by Journal file photo

The rematch was set from last year's NorCal title match between Pitman and Menlo-Atherton High but this time it was in the semifinal round, and unfortunately for the Pride the outcome was reversed when they hosted the Bears on Saturday.

Just two days after Thanksgiving, Pitman was unable to trounce a Menlo-Atherton team that seemed determined for revenge after last year's loss.

This time the game failed to go five sets and instead, the Pride snapped their six-match win streak as they fell in four after winning the first, 3-1, (26-28, 25-21, 25-20 and 25-22).

“The fact that we're one of the top eight teams left in the state was way more than anyone expected,” said Pitman senior Kaylene Ureño. “To come this far, when we weren't expected to, is a big accomplishment.”

The Pride, who just recently won their second consecutive Section title, found it more challenging than they anticipated and overcame a deficit of seven points in the first set to win by two.

Pitman just couldn't pull away with it in the second set and neither team led by more than three points until the final point where Menlo-Atherton pulled out with a four-point victory.

“They were a great team, and we battled to come back in the first game,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian who is 179-34 (.840) since 2010. “I just wish we could have kept that momentum going into the second game.”

In the third set Pitman trailed again, 17-10, but they rallied to pull within three at 20-17, however, this time the spark fell short and Menlo-Atherton took the lead for good setting up a must-win in the fourth set.

The Pride led most of the way but the Bears tied it at 22 apiece and finished it with three unanswered points.

Menlo-Atherton will advance to face top-seeded Monte Vista (Danville) in the next round and Pitman ends the year at 30-7.

Pitman sophomore Whitney Barnes had 14 kills, 17 digs, four blocks and two aces and junior Yisel Perez finished with 12 kills. Junior setter Kiyanna Torres combined for a team-high 35 assists and senior libero Lauren Solis tallied 29 digs.