Turlock and Pitman High's girls soccer teams battled on the pitch on Saturday afternoon at Joe Debely Stadium in their first crosstown matchup of the season.
After a quick strike in the fourth minute of the game from Pitman's Rayana Plancarte, the Pride took an early lead. The Bulldogs retaliated by scoring three unanswered goals as they cruised to a 3-1 win to remain in second place in the Central California Conference.
“The shot ignited us but the girls knew they had to play hard and take shots,” said Turlock head coach Cathi Schali-Lopez. “We played our game...our girls played with intensity and controlled the pace and did an excellent job playing as a team.”
“It's always an entertaining game when we get together,” said Pitman head coach Cris Castro. “Both teams played well, but home field advantage played a big role as we were having more trouble than usual adjusting to the turf.”
Plancarte's goal brought the Bulldogs to life after she volleyed in a Meghan Robinson corner kick to put the Pride ahead 1-0.
“Our girls said 'game on' and it sparked the intensity,” said Schali-Lopez.
The Bulldogs pressed aggressively and nearly equalized to score seven minutes after the goal when Sophie Warda's left-footed shot from the edge of the 18-yard box rattled off the crossbar.
Finally in the 15th minute, just four minutes after Warda's strike, Natalie Larson put the Bulldogs on the board with a goal after she alertly touched a deflected ball into an open net to make it 1-1.
“We knew what we had to do because everyone was silent after Pitman scored,” said Schali-Lopez. “After that we basically controlled the whole rest of the game. We played as a team and played really well and finished when we needed it.”
Turlock continued to press and Carissa Lopez was finally rewarded in the 25th minute after pouncing on a loose ball during a scrum in front of the net and deposited it into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead and the eventual game winner.
Warda, again, nearly went on the scoreboard just before the half in the 38th minute but the shot was saved and the first half ended with Turlock ahead 2-1.
Turlock was able to keep a consistent pace on the offensive side, finishing with 16 shots as opposed to Pitman's 7.
Former goalkeeper for the Bulldogs, now a striker, Ashley Kuntz put the game out of reach in the opening minute of the second half when she picked up a poor clearance off a Savanah Riddle free kick and unleashed a bullet from 18 yards out to go up 3-1.
Kuntz took the fight out of the Pride as they allowed the visitors to only one more chance when Plancarte shot a free kick from 30 yards out but the shot sailed just over the top bar.
“It seemed like the bounces were tough, especially since two of Turlock's goals came on mistakes due to the turf. But give Turlock credit, they always play us very tough,” said Castro.
Pitman (3-7-3, 2-4-1 CCC) will travel to Merced High to take on the Bears at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Turlock (6-3-2, 5-1-1 CCC) will host Buhach Colony at 4 p.m. Thursday.