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Pride soccer rolls over Golden Valley
Pitman High’s Hannah Verschelden, who finished with three assists, looks to pass the ball during the Pride’s 4-1 win over Golden Valley High on Wednesday. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
MERCED — All of a sudden, the Pitman High girls soccer players looked up to see something they couldn’t stop. It was a ball flying high above their heads from their opponent’s top player and toward their goalkeeper.
This came just minutes into the second half, making it a game. But the Pride didn’t panic.
Actually, they rallied.
Was it a wake-up call?
“Kinda,” said Hannah Verschelden, one of Pitman’s active forwards.
The Pride then fired in two quick goals in a span of five minutes to increase their lead and end Golden Valley High’s hopes of a comeback, eventually resulting in a 4-1 win on Wednesday afternoon that keeps Pitman undefeated in the Central California Conference heading into a big series of games next week.
Next up is Monday’s game against a dangerous Atwater High team before facing three-time defending league champion Turlock High two days later at the Turlock Sports Complex. But the Pride (3-0 CCC, 9-2 overall) aren’t thinking ahead, as they’re keeping their focus on what’s in front of them. That was the case against Golden Valley (0-3 CCC, 8-5-2).
After succumbing to a 2-0 deficit, the Cougars jumpstarted the second half on a nice boot from Vanesa Vega, whose 30-yard shot sailed above the Pitman defenders and over the out-stretched arms of the goalkeeper. That prompted a warning from the Pride bench to the on-field players to keep an eye on Vega, as Pitman coach Oscar Mercado was heard shouting “That’s No. 4! That’s No. 4!” as if to mark a target.
“We probably thought we had it,” Pitman’s Verschelden said. “And we felt like, ‘It’s still anyone’s game.’ We had to keep going.”
Between the 47th and 52nd minutes, however, the Pride responded with two goals from Annabel Perez with assistance from Verscheldan (three assists) and Mayra Flores, respectively. It put the lead at 4-1, with the final coming after Perez raced past the entire back line — one in a game full of scoring highlights that started with goals from Karina Maldonado and Marissa Marable in the first half.
And the win came despite Pitman not having a number of players available due to injuries and sickness.
Even so, the Pride will be ready for next week.
“It’s early,” said Coach Mercado. “We still have nine games to go. However, anything team would like this beginning. Any team would want to begin the league with 3-0. However, we’ve got to keep that composure and use it to our benefit, instead of having it work against us.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail at or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.