The Turlock (2-2) varsity girls water polo team came away with 19 steals in Tuesday’s first meeting of the season against crosstown rivals, Pitman (2-3) High, as the Bulldogs rallied behind a great overall performance to clinch a 14-5 victory.
“This is what we are trying to do… this was our goal, to lower turnovers and increase the steals because then we control the ball more,” said Turlock head coach Sonja Raynes. “The more we control the ball, the more we control the game and the more chances we have.”
“I have a lot of new girls playing together this year,” said Pitman head coach Erica Crain. “In a big game like this with lots of people, I think the crosstown rivalry was big for them. It took them a bit to realize they were in it and we are just learning.”
Pitman played a little off on Tuesday night, missing countless shots that bounced off the cross bar, and Turlock was smart enough to take advantage of their miscues and play their game behind a ferocious defensive game.
Sarah Phillips and Karissa Roof each tallied four goals apiece and Hanna Groteguth tacked on three for the Bulldogs.
“We had a lot of switches on defense, which helped stop their offense and helped us save our energy for offense and it all helped; it was all teamwork,” said Raynes.
Pitman pulled within a goal in the second period after Samantha Guerino scored a goal with 4:33 left till the half.
Turlock retaliated by scoring three straight, including two from Phillips taking a four-goal lead at the half. The Pride's comeback seemed close but yet too far.
Pitman’s Jordyn Kennell scored the first goal of the third period before Turlock went back-to-back, setting up a four-goal lead by the start of the fourth.
Turlock outscored Pitman 5-0 in the fourth and the Bulldogs went on to beat Pitman for their second Central California Conference victory of the year.
“It’s a team orientation and that is what we are trying to do,” said Raynes. “I told the kids, we will not be the biggest or fastest but we better have the best team play and that is what we are after. Our girls stepped up and played great today.”
“It’s a learning lesson and we just need to move on and practice, work harder and tune it up and get it next time and we just have to win from here on out,” Crain added. “No matter how many goals we give up, we can’t be letting down like that anymore.”
Pitman’s next game will be another CCC contest at Atwater High at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The next game for Turlock will be at home against Atwater High at 4 p.m. Thursday.