Jonathan Galdamez went off in Pitman High’s quarterfinal contest on Thursday when the Pride hosted Ponderosa after the junior scored a hat-trick in the opening 16 minutes.
Backed by a near impenetrable defense and goalkeeper that only allowed one goal in stoppage time, Pitman held on for the victory after another solid performance from the entire team putting them one step closer to the Division II CIF Sac-Joaquin Section final after winning, 3-1.
“I honestly didn’t think I would do this. Once I scored the first goal it wasn’t as crazy but when I got the second one I knew I had to get that hat-trick,” said Galdamez.
Pitman notched back-to-back wins in the postseason for the second time in three years, since making it in the third round of the 2013 season.
“We could not ask for a better start. I mean we took the 3-0 lead early and we were picking them apart,” said Pitman assistant coach Sergio Sousa. “I thought all around we were good. Defensively we were very strong; I don’t think they had much going because we shut them down. Our back-line was quality.”
Pitman blanketed Ponderosa from achieving any success during regular time as they held them to zero goals after 80 minutes, as the defense get up the tempo.
“We were doing what we practice, which is holding it down, working our hardest and getting the result we needed… now we move on,” said Pitman center back Anthony Zuno.
The back-line, along with goalkeeper Jesus Nuñez did a fantastic job, playing their game and causing Ponderosa to play unsettled, blocking off all shot attempts.
“We were able to hold off their shots. I don’t think our keeper touched the ball very much in the first 40 minutes,” said Sousa.
It didn’t take much to get momentum rolling in their favor when Galdamez scored his first of three goals in under 50 seconds of play.
About five minutes later, Galdamez and the offense were able to break the Ponderosa defense once again and the Pride went up 2-0 at the six minute mark.
“We did pretty well, we made good touches. They had solid moments but they played long ball and we just executed and held them off,” said Galdamez.
Finally, 10 minutes later, Galdamez received a cross from Ramsin Larios and between multiple defenders and then squeezed his way between them as he went 40 yards into the goalie’s box where made a one cut move the opposite side of the keeper for the eventual game-winner.
“I had to beat the defender so I slowed as I always do when I play the defender,” said Galdamez. “Then when I felt the defender slow down I accelerated and beat him and then I knew I could not shoot with my left so I cut across the other way and shot it in.”
Pitman went on to hold Ponderosa scoreless in the 80 minutes of regulation until the opposition found the back of the net on a broken play defensively in final seconds of play.
The Pride now moves closer to booking their place in the Section final, but there is only one game left.
“We just have to play quicker on the floor and we have to be more aware of our surrounding in the next game,” Galdamez added.
The next game for Pitman will be the semifinal contest in the Division II bracket against the #8 team in state, Rocklin, at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“As long as we work and play our hardest I think we may be able to shut them down but it won’t be easy,” said Nuñez. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing and try to run it up if we can.”