At one point in the game, the Turlock High boys water polo team had every right to be nervous. For one thing, the Bulldogs were competing against their archrival, Pitman High, on Tuesday night in front of dozens of fans at the Steve Feaver Aquatic Center at the Turlock High campus.
The Pride managed to cut it to a one-goal disadvantage, sending the Pitman fans into excitement with every goal.
But the Bulldogs did not panic. They remained cool and held the relentless Pride scoreless for much of the second half before winning 15-8 in Central California Conference play to stay undefeated at 5-0 at the midway point. Today, Turlock will play at Oakdale High at 3 p.m. in nonconference action.
On Tuesday, Manny Bettencourt filled in quite nicely for Chris Callahan — who’s awaiting MRI results after dislocating his shoulder last week — and finished with a game-high seven goals. He had support from Morley Baker and Grant McNulty, as both of them collected three scores apiece, while goalie Neil Wraske snagged nine saves.
“Manny really stepped up,” coach Steve Feaver said.
That was much-needed, considering Pitman cut the deficit to 7-6 after Quinten Day connected on one of his team-leading four goals with 1 minute, 28 seconds left in the first half. But after that, it was all Turlock, evident by the fact that the Bulldogs held the Pride (1-4 CCC) scoreless until late in the fourth quarter.
But Pitman’s first-half surge impressed Feaver.
“I have a lot of respect for Pitman,” Turlock’s long-time coach said. “I have a lot of respect for their coach, Drew Clute. He’s a great coach and Pitman was well-prepared.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.