The atmosphere was electrified at the Turlock High pool on Tuesday night after a much anticipated crosstown rivalry clash between Turlock and Pitman’s varsity boys water polo squads resulted in a back and forth game.
Pitman started off on fire in the first quarter of the crosstown clash, but the Bulldogs from Turlock were able to stage a comeback and take the 13-10 victory.
“I think we kind of just lost track of our game fundamentals,” said Pitman boys head coach Ryan Bullard. “We were just throwing horrible passes and kind of just moved without a purpose and a number of issues that ended up happening but really it was our turnover rate.”
“They [Pitman] came out strong and started off on fire right away,” said Turlock boys head coach Nick Serratos. “We knew they were fast and a good team heading into this matchup so props to them for starting off the game hot and we settled and played lockdown defense near the end.”
Turlock went down 4-2 after the first and by the start of the second, Pitman had notched its fifth goal to go up by three but Turlock struck five unanswered goals in the second.
The defense for Turlock found new life in the second quarter and held Pitman scoreless for the remainder of the second and the Bulldogs were able to take a 7-5 lead heading into the half.
Pitman scored in the third to cut the lead by one but—again—the Bulldogs went on a successful run of 4-1 to end the third at 11-7.
“We had a lot of turnovers and Turlock did a great job on capitalizing on our mistakes,” said Bullard. “I think all of our losses have been matches that we are capable of winning, but we seem to get into a habit of trying to rush the game after establishing a lead.”
The final quarter was the same as the first as Pitman outscored Turlock 3-2, but the Turlock defense, led by sophomore keeper Gabe Sleeper, made it difficult for the Pride to launch a comeback of any sort.
“Our defense stepped up, instead of the offense, having to do most of the work,” Serratos said about his defense. “We need to worry about playing tough defense right away, we started off slow and missed some shots and failed to get back on defense so we need to worry about that and play shutdown.”
Turlock’s Jakob Bradley finished the day with a hat-trick after scoring three goals—including the game’s final goal with one second left.
Pitman’s Nathan Olson finished with a team-high four goals, while Allan Quinn finished second with three goals for the game.
Turlock returns to league play at Golden Valley on Oct. 14.
Pitman will host the Atwater Falcons starting at 3 p.m. on Oct. 14