Wednesday's Central California Conference showdown between Pitman and Turlock High's varsity boys water polo squads marked the season finale for one team and the beginning of the next journey for the other.
Pitman suffered through a tumultuous year, while Turlock was battle ready from the onset accumulating a 9-3 record after toppling the Pride of Pitman in a 12-5 final.
“I expected our boys to compete, it’s always been a goal year in and year out which is to compete for the CCC title and make a run at Sections, these boys did it,” said first-year Turlock head coach Manny Bettencourt.
“As for our record, I take full responsibility,” said Pitman head coach Colin Wenstrand of the team’s 0-12 CCC record. “We are really going to miss all six of our seniors next year. However, our younger guys are super excited to begin preparing for 2017.”
Turlock's Trent Coffey tallied three goals and three steals. Luke Reis added three goals and Matthew Hesse added a pair of assists and a pair of steals. Bobby Marchy finished with two goals, an assist and one steal. Dylan Bernardi had one goal and an assist along with a pair of field blocks.
“I am proud of them,” said Bettencourt of the team's accomplishments in finishing second to only Atwater in the CCC.
It looked as if Turlock was once again ready for Pitman starting off the game with a quick 2-0 lead in the opening three minutes.
Caden Jarvis of Pitman cut the lead to 2-1 with 2:14 left in the first after drilling a laser shot from the top left corner to the upper right corner of the net.
“Caden Jarvis and our goalie Bryce Arnold have nearly kept us in some games,” said Wenstrand. “They have been the backbone of this team. Their quiet and subtle leadership has helped carry our boys through all the highs and lows. I just wish our record didn't overshadow their contributions.”
Turlock quickly put two more goals on the board and led 4-1 once the first quarter concluded.
The Bulldogs kept the lead for the rest of the game and Pitman never came closer than two goals away from tying as the contest ended with a 6-1 run in the second half for Turlock.
“We clinched the playoffs after Monday's win but we definitely wanted to improve and not show any signs of laying off at all,” Bettencourt added.
Christian Weaver of Turlock added two goals and had two assists. Gabe Sleeper notch a goal and a steal. Goalkeeper Kyle White tallied nine saves.
Pitman's Josh Hamby and Jarvis each finished with two goals and Dylan Canisso added a goal.
Turlock advances into the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section tournament and will play on the road against an opponent yet to be named at 3 p.m. Tuesday.