The 2016 Division-I and Division-III Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball champions met on the court Wednesday night as the Pitman Pride hosted Christian Brothers High in a preseason battle.
Fresh off back-to-back wins, the Pride were looking to keep the streak going, taking on a Falcons team that had won just two of its last six heading into the mid-week meeting.
Pitman, missing two of its captains, struggled to find a groove until the final set and they fell in straight sets, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17 and 25-23).
“It was rough. It was just mistake after mistake and there were too many mistakes. We would even be up and then make errors and they would come back,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian.
“They stayed consistent throughout, whereas we did not, we showed a lot of weaknesses tonight.”
The three-time defending champs Pitman, already without San Jose State commit Whitney Barnes, had to deal without highly recruited Kaylin Randhawa, who is suffering an injury herself, and coach Pontes-Christian is estimating her return to hopefully be in time for the Turlock High game.
That first meeting is scheduled for Oct. 3 at the Pride gym.
“We knew Whit was out but next was Kaylin, and having two big, tall presences on the court and captain role leadership, communication, and winners... that's rough and we felt it tonight,” said Pontes-Christian. “But I am waiting for others to step up and it just didn't happen tonight.”
From the first set things seemed off.
Pitman was down 24-15, but fought back in the end to go on a 5-1 run, falling by five points.
The second set saw CB come out and immediately take over the momentum with a 7-0 lead.
The Pride kept chipping away and finally went up 13-12 before a shift occurred.
From there, they saw a downward spiral as CB went on a 13-4 run to close out the second by the largest margin of victory of all the sets played.
The third set saw the longest game played, along with the closest that came at a two-point margin at 25-23.
Pitman's Grace Willming finished with nine kills. Emily Vander Weide finished with 13 kills and two blocks. Emma Hirschkorn added 25 assists, while Fallon Evans had 12 digs. Madison Kind had a block and Madison Wood added an ace.
“Tonight, we definitely lacked passion and intensity and energy,” Pontes-Christian added. “We will have a tough time in our weekend tournament at the elite level... We just have to come back and fight and grind and work on what we need to and play our game, because we didn't tonight. I felt like we never showed up tonight. It’s disappointing and I know the girls are disappointed, but we will learn from it and move on.”
Pitman will compete in the Golden Valley Tournament on Saturday.