The 2017-18 winter season is officially over for the Pitman Pride varsity girls soccer team, but it didn’t conclude without some positives that have first-year head coach Annabel Perez eager for the next season.
In her first year leading the squad, the Pride alum was able to see great success early on. Assisted by her father, the Pride went on to lose just a single game in their first 19 contests during the regular season.
The squad finished in third place in league and earned a berth in the Division-II Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs where they trounced St. Mary’s, 2-1, in the opening round, however, lost to No. 2 Armijo in overtime, 2-1.
“Starting the game, I knew the girls had every chance to win,” said Perez. “I knew they could do it and they fought till the end, literally we scored in the last seconds of the game. The girls left it out on the field, and they handled themselves, they held on and fought till the end.”
For the second consecutive postseason game, the Pride went into overtime.
This happened after a stalemate first half that saw neither side find the back of the net.
Once Armijo went up, it took the remainder of the second half, including the closing seconds for Pitman to tie it and force overtime when Alexia Caballero found the back of the net as time winded down.
“I think it was winnable, definitely we had looks at frames, and either one of us could have come out on top,” said Perez. “I think even when a girl got hurt, we never doubted our team, we did just that. The girls were able to work together and cover each other so that spot can be filled, we were well rounded and I think they know what they needed to do to fill those spots.”
Armijo ended up scoring in overtime off a free kick while Pitman was unable to capitalize on their chances.
“It was a fun season. My dad and I knew we had a great team in our hands and they gave us all they could and they worked hard,” said Perez. “I know it already ended but I am definitely looking forward to next year.”
Pitman finished their last year in the CCC with a league record of 7-2-3. They placed third, however, after losing three of their last four games.
They also had the best overall record of all CCC teams at 15-4-4.
The Pride are expected to return more than half their starters, including the 2017-18 Central California Conference Offensive Player of the Year in Izzy Shallou-Enes.
Playing alongside Shallou-Enes for one more season will be returning all-league selections Jazzy Garcia, Alisha Garcia and Alexia Caballero.