On April 21, the Pitman Pride girls varsity soccer team secured the Central California Conference championship.
And on Tuesday night, in their final regular season game, the Pride (20-4-1 overall, 13-1-1 CCC) showed why they were champions in a 2-1 victory over the cross-town rival Turlock Bulldogs (4-11-3 overall, 2-8-3 CCC).
“Turlock, they made us work. They made us earn it,” Pride coach Oscar Mercado said, as two players drenched their coach in a celebratory bucket of ice water.
“They just came out to prove they were champions,” Mercado said of his players.
Pitman’s Annabel Perez struck first in the game’s fourth minute on a deep, unassisted shot from the right sideline. The victory had special meaning to Perez, a senior, who attended Turlock for her freshman and sophomore years but was previously scoreless against her former team.
“I’ve always wanted a goal against Turlock since I used to go here,” Perez said.
Marissa Marable scored again for the Pride with 15 minutes left in the game, securing the victory. While the game didn’t mean much in terms of league standings, Marable said the Pride had no problem getting up for the cross-town opponents, in the last regular season game of the year.
“It’s really never hard to get excited about playing Turlock,” Marable said.
While the scoreboard showed Pitman winning when all was said and done, the game was close throughout. Turlock actually outshot Pitman, 19-12, with 9 on goal versus the Pride’s 6.
The Bulldogs’ Emily Thompson threatened a comeback late, with a one-touch goal from the front edge of the goalie box, kicked out from right in front of goal, with just 7 minutes to play. After that, a Turlock crossing shot was headed wide, and a close shot was kicked high over the goal.
“We had tons of chances,” Thompson said. “We just got too excited.”
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