It has been an odd start to winter athletics due to the poor air quality, as many teams have had to limit practice times, but that didn’t seem to hurt the Pitman Pride varsity boys soccer team which easily handled a former league opponent in Atwater High on Tuesday afternoon from home.
Pitman scored three goals in the first half followed by another three in the second half as they routed Atwater 6-1 to kick off the year with three straight wins.
“I think they had some players missing but they came out strong to start the game off and we were a little slow to start the game off, so it was competitive in the first half,” said Pitman head coach Brian Hofsteen. “The boys are right on track and we had some practices in before the problem with the air and it was good and they are much more focused this time around than what we saw last year, so I don’t think it affected us much.”
Pitman is off to a 3-0 start, but also defeated Oakdale in what was considered just an exhibition game with no sort of record implications on the line.
The air quality was too bad during the time that the game was scheduled.
In their three official non-league games they have outscored the opposition, 11-2.
Pitman tied with Atwater both times last year, first a 0-0 game followed by a 1-1 draw in their second and final meeting of the season.
The Pride are scheduled to play four games in two days on Friday and Saturday, making up the Pitman Tournament that was slated to take place back in Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Pitman senior Daniel Borges nailed the first goal of the game in the 20th minute after Issac Raya crossed the ball inside the goalie’s box where Borges grabbed it and drilled it over the keeper’s head, hitting the top of the net.
Atwater capitalized on a defensive miscue by Pitman’s final defender and the game was tied just six minutes later at 1-1.
Felipe Lopez of Pitman followed up with a tremendous run and score that saw him carve the Atwater defense for a 35-yard scamper, nailing the ball to the opposite side to go up 2-1 by the 33rd minute.
Luis Manriquez crossed the ball to Raya, who then proceeded to finish with a one-touch as he jumped and made it 3-1 at the 35th.
Pitman took the 3-1 halftime lead but continued to build on it in the second half.
Lopez then saw a set piece opportunity and crossed the ball perfectly from just outside the corner of penalty box and into the goalie’s box, finding Adrian Diaz who blasted the shot with his head by the 57th minute, freezing the entire squad with the quickness and precision of the attack.
Up 4-1, Pitman tacked on a pair of goals. Noah Lima tucked in the near side corner shot to make it 5-1 just three minutes later. Andrew Soria of Pitman scored the final goal of the game by the 67th minute and the Pride nearly saw a pair of goals being added before the game ended.
“The boys had some real nice goals, fun to watch, slow start, but they kind of woke up after they scored and they turned it up,” said Hofsteen. “Hopefully, we keep this momentum going.”
Pitman will host Hilmar at 3:30 p.m. Friday.