The undefeated streak for the Pitman Pride's varsity volleyball team continues.
The Pride swarmed through their competition at the Harbor Invitational this past weekend, winning in convincing fashion, and then rolled through their 20th win after toppling Central California Conference foe Merced, 3-0, (25-10, 25-14 and 25-9) on Monday.
“We went into the Harbor Invitational expecting very strong competition with great ball control from our opponents, knowing that many of these players grew up playing beach volleyball,” Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes said. “I wouldn't say that we were necessarily surprised with the outcome of the tournament, but we definitely knew we were going to have to work for every point.”
It was the first time that Pitman had competed in this tournament of 16 high schools. The Pride took the tourney by storm, winning six consecutive matches all in straight sets.
They began by taking down Harbor in the opener, and followed it by defeating Pleasant Valley.
Their toughest match of the tournament would come from the Salinas High Cowboys, who were up 23-21 in the second set after Pitman took the first set, 25-15.
Pontes called a timeout and then the Pride rallied back against the Cowboys with a 26-24 victory.
“That was the closest game of the day,” Pontes said. “Aptos and Berkeley both gave us one tough game each as well. I knew this was an invitation-only tournament, and there would be talented coastal teams, so I'm glad we were invited and able to play in it for this season.”
After trouncing Berkeley and Aptos, the Pride then met Sacred Heart Prep, the fifth ranked team in California, and toppled them again in straight sets, winning the tournament.
“I think we are all taking this season match by match and game by game, but the team is obviously thrilled with the start of our season and remaining undefeated,” Pontes said. “This is the best start we've ever had in Pitman Pride volleyball history, and we want this undefeated streak to continue. Like I said before, this team does not like to lose and they are highly competitive.”
Lindsey Vander Weide, Maddy Halteman, and Ashleigh Phelps each received All-Tournament honors.
“We have one more tournament (Stockton Classic) mid-October that has changed to a two-day tournament this year,” said Pontes. “There will be many competitive teams there preparing for playoffs.”
In Monday's home contest against Merced, Pitman's Vander Weide led everyone with 16 kills and nine digs. Halteman finished with a game-high 35 assists en route to their 37th consecutive CCC victory, dating back to the 2011 season.
“Even when it comes to games or drills run against each other during practice, they don't like consequences or failure,” Pontes added. “So they will do whatever it takes on the court to prevent that from happening. We are going to continue to have goals and make small adjustments for every game, depending on our opponent, and make sure we play with energy and intensity.”
Vander Weide received recognition as the 13th ranked senior volleyball player in the nation from PrepVolleyball.com. MaxPreps has Pitman ranked as the 67th team in the nation (out of 5,800 teams), 9th in the state, 4th in D1 and 3rd in the section.
The Pride will travel to Atwater to take on Buhach Colony with the game set to start at 6 p.m. today.