There is no hungrier girls soccer team heading into the new season than the Pitman Pride varsity squad.
Head coach Annabel Perez returns five seniors from a group that was 15-4-4 last year overall and 7-2-3 in their final season competing in the Central California Conference.
They are fortunate to return the bulk of their stars that include Izzy Shallou-Enes (San Jose State), Hannah Green, Alexia Caballero (Notre Dame de Namur) and Jazzmyn Garcia.
The Pride also have high hopes of capturing the first ever Central California Athletic League title.
“We are developing well and have been working well since preseason,” said coach Perez. “The girls are in good shape already and we will have a good year.”
Pitman is also returning eight juniors from a year ago.
Last year, the Pride reached the second round of the Division-II Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs before they were knocked out by Armijo in a 2-1 overtime loss.
They toppled St. Mary’s in the first round, 2-1 (OT).
“I think this is already a special team for sure,” said Perez. “They are a well-rounded group and they work hard. I’ve been impressed with their effort since preseason and that is when school started. They really want it this year, they’ve been working hard, since it was short last year, coming short of that CCC title and they don’t want that again.”
Despite finishing with a successful and winning season in league last year, the Pride ended up finishing in third place in the CCC after they went 1-2-1 in their final four games.
Pitman freshman goalie standout Mya Sanchez is expected to take on the goalkeeper duties and is one of the most sought out players in the area and perhaps the state.
This has led to a trickle-down effect with the rest of the squad that looks to be on a different level heading into the start of the year.
“I do see some of those winning qualities in these girls, they really want it, really bad. They are looking forward to every single game in that schedule, they want to win and they motivate each other,” said Perez.
Heading into the newly created CCAL, the league includes Pitman, Turlock, Downey, Modesto, Enochs and Gregori High.
Predicting a winner could be a toss up with all these teams not being as familiar with one another, but the Pride will be ready to compete.
“The entire team works hard and we have so many leaders on the team, we don’t just have one, a lot of them motivate each other,” said Perez. “I think we should be okay, and I think the girls are nervous because they don’t know what to expect, but at the same time there is competitiveness in league and they expect to do well. They want to end at the top of the league standings.”
Pitman will first take on Golden Valley at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 30.