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Pride girls best Bulldogs; perfect 5-0 start for Pitman water polo
Girls POLO
Kim Canisso of Pitman makes a big steal during Tuesdays 12-6 win over Turlock. Canisso finished the match with three assists and three steals. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Pitman Pride girls varsity water polo squad is a perfect 5-0 in the Central California Conference to start off the 2014 season after defeating crosstown and league rivals Turlock, 12-6, at the Bulldogs' home pool on Tuesday.

Pitman led 8-5 nearing the end of the third quarter and the Pride's shutdown defense held Turlock to one goal as the Pride outscored the Bulldogs for the remainder of the match, 4-1, to end the first crosstown clash in Pitman’s favor.

“We fought hard and we had three goals coming into this game,” said Turlock head coach Sonja Raynes. “The first was to stop their set and the other was to keep turnovers under eight and the other was to win; well, we attained two of the three.”

“Hometown rivalries are always so crazy because you never know what will happen,” Pitman head coach Michaela Solario said. “Everyone is so amped and excited. We came off the Merced win and I told the girls to go out and have fun and play water polo and they will be fine.”

Pitman controlled the pace of the game from the start, despite  efficient play from Turlock.

Turlock held its own against Pitman, but the Pride were able to score 10 goals or more for the fifth straight CCC contest.

“This year as a team, the girls gel so well and they feed off each other positively and negatively,” said Solario, “which can be a good thing and bad thing but usually they boost each other and pick each other up in any way possible. And that’s why we are doing as well as possible, we are working together.”

Turlock’s Natalie Larsen and Karissa Root both finished with two goals for the Bulldogs.

Turlock is now 3-2 after the loss to Pitman.

 “I enjoy seeing the girls improve and I think we are right on the edge of meshing where we want to be,” said Raynes. “To their benefit, Pitman has improved since last year. I think we worked hard and fought hard for the ball, but we need to work on the finishing thing.”

Pitman’s Erin Tait led all scorers for the Pride as she finished with six goals and one assist.

Goalie Jessica Kern topped out with a game-high 13 blocks.

Turlock returns to league play at Golden Valley on Oct. 14.

Pitman will host the Atwater Falcons starting at 3 p.m. on Oct. 14