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Second half effort gives Turlock win over Pitman
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Bulldog Nick Odgen attempts to block a Pitman players pass during the first half of Turlocks win over its rival. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

It was a game to remember between Turlock and Pitman High’s boys water polo teams on Tuesday. The Pride (0-5 CCC) opened the first half with a surprisingly dominant performance against Turlock but the second half, and the match, ultimately belonged to the Bulldogs (2-3 CCC) as they rode an offensive wave to a 12-8 victory.

“I didn’t expect it to turn out the way it did,” Pitman’s head coach Ryan Bullard said. “It was a heck of a game.”

Turlock’s Hunter Mangrum found the goal early in the first quarter to give his team the lead but was answered almost immediately by Pitman’s Michael Montalvo. Jose De La Torre gave Pitman the lead less than a minute later but the game was soon tied again as Bulldog Nick Odgen scored at the 2:47 in the first quarter.

The next four goals belonged to the Pride, however, as Ian Belloli and Montalvo found the goal before Max Rodriguez scored two of his own. Turlock closed the gap with two minutes left in the half off another Mangrum goal and a Blake Phillips shot for a 6-4 halftime score in the Pride’s favor.

The second half followed a different script from the first as Turlock locked down its defense and followed an alternative offensive strategy, allowing its outside shooters to let loose. The Bulldogs scored five goals in a crucial third quarter as the Pride failed to respond. Pitman managed to score twice more before the conclusion of the match but another three goals in the fourth quarter ensured the Turlock win.

Mangrum finished the night with four goals while Odgen and Phillips finished with three apiece.

“This is one of those games that was real frustrating,” Bullard said. “But even though it slipped away from us the kids still kept on the gas and played hard.”

Pitman’s next match is against Atwater High on Tuesday while Turlock faces Golden Valley.