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Pitman volley heading to third consecutive semi
Whitney Barnes scores for the Pride during the game against Lincoln. Pitman moves on to the Semi-Finals and will play Oak Ridge next week. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

For the third consecutive year, the Pitman High Pride varsity volleyball team is moving on to the semifinal round of the Division-I CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs after defeating Lincoln of Stockton on Thursday in the quarterfinal, 3-1, [25-14, 12-25, 25-16 and 25-19].

“This season has been one of those seasons where you have such a successful  previous year and there is a lot of pressure on the girls to do just as well,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian. “Again our focus this year is a new team and new dynamic. We are going to do the best we can possible so that is our focus.”

Pitman played as a single unit on Thursday night, achieving success with the help of their entire roster.

Whitney Barnes finished with a game-high 17 kills and setter Kiyanna Torres’ 34 assists was a game-high.

“Honestly, it was an all-around effort from all of our girls but our setter [Torres] contributed tonight because she moved very well and moved our quick tempo offense we've been working on. She really led the team and kept Lincoln's offense off balance.”

Along with Torres, senior Lauren Solis finished with two aces and topped out with 22 digs. Kaylene Ureno finished with 11 kills and two aces as the Pride won their second straight.

“We are taking it one game at a time, one set at a time, one match at a time,” said Pontes-Christian. “We are looking forward to the next round, but it will be very difficult against Oak Ridge, they will be very difficult in the semifinal so we need to cut our unforced errors down and we can compete with any team.”

Oak Ridge is currently the No. 1 team in the D-I bracket while Pitman is seeded as No. 4.

“It’s going to take every player on this team to pitch in in order to make that happen,” Pontes-Christian said of the possibility of an upset.

This semifinal bout is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“Every game from here on out it will be four to five games, it will be a battle. To know that we can be successful at the end it’s what we need,” Pontes-Christian added.