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Pitman water polo can’t complete fourth quarter comebacks
Pitman boys polo
Colby Sousa looks for one of his Pride teammates to pass the ball during Pitman’s game against Gregori on Thursday (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

The Pitman boys and girls water polo teams both came up short against Gregori Thursday night as both teams struggled to keep the Jaguars from scoring in the fourth quarter.

The girls were up first and they started off strong with Maya Russell scoring the first goal 30 seconds into the game. The Pride struggled for the rest of the quarter as Gregori scored the next four goals. Russell striked again with a goal right before the quarter ended with 21 seconds left to take a 2-4 deficit.

“I think we played alright today. We’re coming out of COVID and a lot of girls haven’t played in a long time. We’re just trying to get back again,” head coach Chelsie Wattles said.

Pitman girls polo
Lily Boster passes the ball to a teammate during the Pride’s contest against Gregori (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

The second quarter was a defensive struggle for the first couple of minutes but Rachel Fish broke that stalemate with 2:05 into the quarter. Lillian Boster tied the game at four with 4:18 left in the quarter. Lily Martin and Russell scored within 30 seconds of each other to take a 6-4 lead. But the Jaguars scored with 21 seconds left to cut the Pride’s lead to 6-5 into the half.

The Jaguars took control in the third quarter with a score 16 seconds in to tie the game. They scored forty seconds later to take the lead. Gregori scored three more times in the quarter while shutting Pitman and The Pride went into the fourth with a 6-10 deficit.

The Pride fought back with a goal by Janelle Jackson 1:24 into the quarter to cut the lead to three. Both teams' defenses held the other from scoring for the next three minutes but the Jaguars scored with 2:47 to take a four-point lead. Martin scored with two minutes left but that was the last goal for Pitman and Gregori scored with 36 seconds left to secure an 8-12 loss for the Pride.

“A lot of girls did well with communication and teamwork today. They did a lot of quick passes and switches and that was something that was really positive. One thing we really need to work on is getting a little more ball awareness and coming back on defense a little faster,” said Wattles.

The boys were up next in what head coach Justin Jones described as a very physical match. The Pride opened up strong with back-to-back goals with Nathan Screen and Colby Sousa. The Jaguars scored the next four times though and Pitman were down 2-4 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was a defensive battle as there were only three goals scored. Both of the goals scored by the Pride were scored by Chase Valenti and Pitman was down 4-5 going into the half. The defensive struggle might have worn the Pride out.

Valenti scored coming out of the half to tie the game but the Jaguars answered right by with a score of their own. Valenti tied the game again with a goal with 4:32 left in the quarter. Gregori scored the final two goals in the quarter and Pitman went into the fourth down 6-8.

The Jaguars scored with 2:12 into the quarter but Screen answered for the Pride 14 seconds later. Gregori scored the next three times however to take control of the game. Caesar Flores scored a goal with 1:03 left to make the final score 9-11.

“That was a tough one. It was a physical game. We had far too many turnovers,” said head coach Justin Jones. “I think we got to work on playing tired. We put a lot of heart into that game early on and I think by the fourth quarter it started to really tire out our guys.”

The Pride will face Downey next in their second league game. The game will be away and the girls are scheduled for 5:30 pm and the boys are for 6:30 pm.