The Pride hosted visiting Central California Conference opponent Merced High on Tuesday in what began as a sluggish start for Pitman but was quickly fixed after a pep talk from head coach Kristen Pontes, as they won the next three sets en route to a 3-1 slam, (23-25, 25-9, 25-6 and 25-14).
“What it comes down to is that four games in a match showed how in shape we are as far as conditioning goes, and I think we were much more ready to go as the game progresses,” Pontes said. “I feel it’s about conditioning and being ready for that physically. If we can keep it up and focus on not making mistakes, we will be ok.”
With a rusty start from the get-go, Pitman knew that their CCC rivals, Merced, would not take it easy as they capitalized on crucial mistakes and errors committed by the Pride taking it to them until the end as it resulted in a 23-25 defeat.
“The girls didn’t come out ready to play the first game and Merced was doing well and not making many errors, but the second set is when we woke up and started to play our game,” Pontes said.
It was the beginning of the second set that showed what the remainder of the match would have in store for the visiting Bears as the Pride, once again, proved why they are atop the CCC winning the second set 25-9.
The third set was an obliteration of the Bears as the Pride came away with a 25-6 dominating performance.
With the final set in play Merced knew it was now or never, but they only came as close as 5-3 in the match as the Pride’s offense and defense was too much to overcome minor mistakes as they defeated the Bears with a 25-14 showing.
“We have to bring it up a notch, and that’s more motivation for them to practice harder and to stay longer and to want to condition more,” Pontes said. “Sometimes when you continue winning it’s easy to forget how important it is to stay focused; so I feel it a great eye opener for us.”
Spencer Bronken finished the day with 11 digs while Terri Gallon added 4 blocks. Maddy Halteman topped out with 34 assists and sister Moriah Halteman finished with 9 digs and 4 aces. Stephanie Simmons was outstanding with 13 kills while Lindsey Vander Weide had a game-high 20 kills.
Pitman came into Tuesday's game after traveling to play in a tough Stockton Volleyball Classic tournament this past weekend. The Pride came away with a 2-2 record, losing both matches to top 15 teams, Archbishop Mitty and Menlo, both of whom are ranked third and 15, respectively.
Next, Pitman will host Golden Valley High at 6 p.m. on Thursday.