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Pride soccer handed first league loss
Pitmans Grant Tallent dribbles the ball and looks for a way around a Buhach defender during Mondays 4-2 loss to the Thunder. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Pitman High dropped its first Central California Conference match Monday afternoon when it hosted the now league-leading Buhach Colony High. After earning 2-1 victories over both Merced and Golden Valley highs last week, the Pride (9-2-3 Overall, 2-1 CCC) were unable to fend off a three-goal, second half effort by the Thunder (11-1-1 Overall, 3-0 CCC) and lost 4-2.

“Three of the four goals were given by us because of defensive mistakes and lack of communication,” Pitman head coach Oscar Mercado said. “It was a pretty even match; they just made fewer mistakes than we did.”

The Thunder jumped onto the scoreboard first with a goal in the middle of the first half, but with less than two minutes before halftime, the Pride were able to even the score with a Braymn Navarrete goal. Assisted by Brayan Perez, Navarrete crashed in on a cross kick and placed the ball neatly in the net.

After a 1-1 halftime, Buhach struck again in the opening minutes of the second half with a goal to go up 2-1. Determined to remain perfect in league, Pitman responded mere minutes later with a Grant Tallent goal that was again assisted by Perez.

“They’ve been playing soccer pretty much all their lives, so they have the experience, and they also see the game through the same scope because they’ve played together, so that’s always an advantage,” Mercado said of his team’s ability to fight back.

The match remained even up until the final ten minutes when the Thunder were able to score back-to-back goals to seal the victory and keep their undefeated league record intact.

Though the loss was disappointing, the season is still young and the Pride are still hopeful for their CCC campaign. Pitman will play at home again today against Atwater High—an able playoff team from last season.

“They’re confident. We talked about why we lost and we saw our mistakes,” Mercado said of his team. “It’s a long season ahead of us so we’re just going to keep playing well and winning. It should be a battle.”