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Pitman volleyball dominates preseason opponents
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Pitman's Lindsey Vander Weide was named the Most Valuable Player at last weekend's Golden Valley Tournament. - photo by Journal file photo

For the first time in school history, the Pitman High volleyball team won the Golden Valley tournament. The Pride continued their success on Monday after trouncing Oakdale in straight sets (25-9, 25-14, 25-15).

Friday was the beginning of a two-day long tourney which included 40 high schools at Golden Valley High in Merced.

The Pride rolled over their opponents in straight sets and beat out eight teams to end their consistent weekend with a 2-0 win, (25-15 and 25-18) over Golden Valley in the championship game.

“Last season we finished sixth overall and that was the best finish before this time,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes. “For eight years we have participated and it's the best result. I am very satisfied with the way my team is playing. Individually, we are very talented and together as a team, we are even better.”

Friday began with a four-game day and the Pride had no problem at all beating out Central Catholic, Turlock Christian, Kimball and Gregori High all in straight sets.

On Saturday, the Pride domination continued at Merced College where they toppled Wooster and Turlock High in straight sets, once more.

The semifinal game was against Central High from Fresno at Golden Valley and the Pride showed how well prepared they were as they took it in straight sets, (25-18 and 25-21) to put them into the title game.

In the title contest, Pitman toppled the hosts of the tournament in two games with the likes of Lindsey Vander Weide and Maddy Halteman leading the Pride.

“We have a few important and very talented newcomers this season, who are connecting very quickly with the veteran players, which is exciting to see,” Pontes said. “Our team has a tremendous amount of depth both offensively and defensively, and that's what sets us apart from other teams in the area.”

Vander Weide was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player while Halteman was named to the All-Tourney team.

“I've been coaching both Lindsey and Maddy since they were in 8th grade, and they have come a long way since then,” said Pontes about her captains and future Division I stars. “They have been putting in the extra time in the gym, always working harder and playing all year long.”

On Monday, the Pride just kept things rolling after handing Oakdale a loss in straight sets.

“The girls stayed consistent on the court, making very few errors after a long weekend,” Pontes said.

Vander Weide finished the night with 15 kills, 7 digs and 2 blocks. Freshman Whitney Barnes had 3 blocks and the libero, Ashleigh Phelps, had 6 digs. Halteman had 16 assists and 5 aces.

“They [Vander Weide and Halteman] are both leading the team as captains again this season and deserve all of the recognition they get their senior year,” Pontes added. “They are exceptionally talented players who have a very strong connection both on and off the court. I am very proud of the players and young women that they have become and so happy they will be playing collegiately.”

The Pride are now a perfect 11-0 to begin the season and have been perfect all year long having won all 11 games in straight sets.