Pitman High didn’t have the boys soccer season it had hoped for in 2011, but head coach Oscar Mercado and his new squad isn’t dwelling on that fact. What they are doing is learning from last season’s mistakes and forging a new path for the Pride, one rooted in youth and, hopefully, headed towards the post-season.
“We played well but little mistakes, lack of focus, and not being able to finish cost us games,” Mercado said of last season’s shortcomings.
With only three starters gone from last year’s roster the Pride won’t have to fill many holes but with more than a couple sophomores on the field they will need to build an early sense of confidence and parlay it into mid-season experience. Pitman’s youthful team is far from set; players are still battling for starting positions even as the season looms nearer and nearer. Mercado sees it as an advantage.
“Every year is different and you have to work with what you have,” Mercado said. “It’s early but after this weekend we’ll be able to see who has the heart and ambition and is in shape and can be considered for the starting lineup.”
Pitman’s goal this season is the same as it has been since 2005, win another CCC title. The Pride is also eyeing their first playoff appearance since 2007; a feat Mercado knows will be no cakewalk.
“Everybody has a shot, they’re all as anxious as we are,” Mercado said of the CCC. “We’ll see how the season unfolds.”
Friday’s Pitman Varsity Tournament served as a preview to what 2012 might have to offer the Pride.
In the day’s first match Pitman lined up against Pacheco High. The Pride focused on perfecting their individual roles as they pertained to the team as a whole and were rewarded with a 2-0 victory. Pitman’s second match, against Galt High, was much more closely contested. Mercado’s boys played well, fighting back after an early Galt goal to tie the game, but ultimately lost 1-2.
“We played better as a team in the second game,” Mercado said. “The function of the team as a whole was good; the teamwork was the highlight of the day.”
Pitman’s learning curve continues today with a 10 a.m. match against Sierra High and a 2 p.m. game against Beyer High.