Pitman High’s volleyball team opened its Central California Conference play on Tuesday in victorious fashion, 3-1, against Merced High.
Going into the third set tied, it looked like Merced High had all the momentum and confidence, but a timeout and pep talk from Pitman’s head coach Kristen Pontes made all the difference as the Pride were able to rebound and prove why they were undefeated last year in the CCC.
“It was a good game but we still have things to improve on; especially in regards from being steady from beginning to end,” Pontes said. “Every game we need to come out and be ready to play every single minute, it's crucial.”
Pitman’s defense, along with assistance from the bench, assured the upper hand for one of the best volleyball teams in the state. In the end, Pitman came away with the win after the team's fourth set, (25-13, 20-25, 25-17, and 25-13).
The Bears became a little threatening in the third set, going up 9-3, but the Pride put their foot down and won the next two sets in total dominance to secure the win.
“We played Merced in a tournament a couple of weeks ago and the girls thought they could handle them. However, Merced came out to play and they were battling and I think my girls got a little shocked at first but we went back to our game; our girls relaxed and did what they do,” Pontes said.
Struggling with passes and digs early on, the Pride knew their comeback could not have been possible without a team effort; stars emerged from the bench as Taylor Rivera was outstanding on the defensive side. Ali Salafia was brought on to help on the offensive side of things. Both were huge assets to the victory coming off the bench Pontes said.
“We didn’t move well on defense during that run and we weren’t in our spots, but we started to react and anticipate and the girls started to play our game; it got a little frantic,” Pontes said. “The girls could’ve given up but they didn’t; they did what they should and could do and they did it.”
Maddy Halteman finished the day with 29 assists. Lindsey Vander Weide had 21 kills and three aces while Ashleigh Phelps topped out at 11 digs. Moriah Halteman had three aces and Melinda Gonzalez added three blocks.
Next, Pitman will host Golden Valley High at 6 p.m. on Thursday.