Erica Crain and the 2015 lady Prides’ Central California Conference opener was a big success on Thursday when the water polo team hosted Atwater in a lengthy game that went into two extra periods of play.
After experiencing a deficit for a majority of the start, Pitman rolled up their preverbial sleeves and got down to business in the final minutes of play, notching three goals in the final five minutes of regulation to tie the game at 7-7 and force extra time.
“In my mind we are better as a team, but I am just proud they pulled it off at the end,” said Coach Crain. “For them, I think it’s very thrilling and gave them the confidence they needed.”
“What turned the tables for us is that we really wanted it and the motivation kicked in that we had it and needed to do it for ourselves and that is what got us the win,” said Pitman’s Samantha Guerino. “The slow start we didn't know what to expect and we were still getting the hang of things and once we got in there we fixed it and got the win.”
The first 22 minutes of play were unsteady for the lady Pride. For whatever reason their slow start triggered some inconsistency and a sluggish mentality that resulted in many missed shot attempts and a far less-than aggressive mentality.
After going down by a goal in the first, the Pride only notched one in the entire first half, down by two heading into the break.
By the time the fourth period had begun, Pitman was down 4-6 to Atwater.
“I think it takes us a few minutes to get used to the situation,” said Pitman senior Jordyn Kennell. “At first we stress out and don’t really know where we are at then after we start getting comfortable and see where we are at and relax a little bit then we start to play how we know how to play.”
From that point on, Pitman was able to be effective offensively, striking the back of the net three times, while allowing one goal in the final five minutes to send the game into extra time at seven apiece.
During overtime, the Pride went on a roll and was nearly perfect, forcing turnovers after a ferocious style of defense and the offense was clicking, scoring on counters and causing problems for Atwater with their speed and endurance.
“For me personally, a league win at first can give us a sense of hope that we can do better and progress as the year carries on,” Guerino said.
The next game for Pitman is slated for an away game against Golden Valley at 3 p.m. Thursday.
“I think they realized they are much better and I don't think they will play like that again,” Crain added.