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Pride roll through ‘Dogs in rivalry matchup
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Pitman High senior Cierra Verdone goes down for a dig during Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Turlock High. The Pride finished with a total of 105 total digs (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Bragging rights and a crucial win to stay in the hunt for a league title was on the line Wednesday night when Turlock High varsity volleyball played host to Pitman High in their first matchup of the year.

Turlock won the first set, but from there it was all Pitman as they toppled their crosstown foe to secure their fourth straight win, 3-1 (19-25, 25-13, 26-24 and 25-14).

“I think it is just getting the groove and the girls are starting to play the way we know they can… the team chemistry on the court is working and it’s playing for each other instead of playing for themselves and the teamwork is there,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian.

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Madi King of Pitman High tallied a team-high three blocks in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Turlock (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

“We are continuing to improve,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo. “I fully expect the season will see growth and with that growth comes the actual growing pains. We are taking this one match at a time.”

Heading into the weekend, Pitman’s overall record is now 12-7 and 4-1 in CCAL.

Turlock goes to 7-10 overall and 2-3 in the CCAL.

The Pride also snapped a two-game losing streak to Turlock dating back to last season.

Pitman’s last win over Turlock prior to Wednesday’s game was in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I Championship game back on Nov. 12, 2016 when they won 3-0.

The intensity was evident from the start of the first set and Turlock seemed like they picked up where they left off after they topped the Pride 25-19.

The second set saw Pitman go down early by as many as two points, but from there they managed to rally and never looked back, winning by 12 points, 25-13.

In the third, there were a number of momentum shifts and the largest number of digs of any set played.

Pitman got the better end, as they finished with 105 total digs, with Madison Hall’s 33 leading the way for both sides. Turlock had 79 total digs and Jazmyn Tubbs had 29 for the ‘Dogs.

The score was tied on multiple occasions in the third, but Pitman closed it out with a 4-2 run to win 26-24.

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Sarah Romo of Turlock High finished Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to Pitman with 25 assists (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

Up 2-1, Pitman had all the momentum and was rolling with confidence. The Pride trailed by no more than one point in the beginning of the fourth but after that they took control and finished it with a 25-14 win.

“We are ready… we want to play Modesto and show that we can beat them,” said Pontes-Christian, who said the team is ready to avenge their loss to Modesto. “The goal is the CCAL title, but first we have a big tournament out in Oak Ridge this weekend, and play St. Francis right off the get-go. It will be a tough weekend of volleyball, but hopefully it will prepare us for Modesto.”

Pitman’s Haley Freeman had 37 assists and three aces. Emma Hirschkorn tallied two aces, 12 kills and 21 digs. Madi King had three blocks and Emily Vander Weide added 12 kills.

Turlock saw Ava Chiesa get a team-high 14 kills along with 15 digs. Mary Padilla added eight kills and 16 assists. Jazmyn Tubbs tallied 30 digs and 13 kills. Sarah Romo finished with 25 assists while Audrey Tillery added three blocks.

Next for Turlock will be a home contest against Gregori at 6 p.m. Monday.

Pitman’s next game will be on the road at Modesto High at 6 p.m. Monday.