It’s a season sweep.
Pitman High’s boys’ soccer team has swept the Turlock Bulldogs for the 2014 season after beating them at home on Thursday afternoon in a 3-0 shutout.
Both teams met for the third time this year in the regular season Central California Conference finale and the same thing that depleted Turlock all year affected them once again as they failed to produce any offense from their young squad.
Pitman was able to take advantage of some opportunities as they took a 2-0 lead early on, but the own goal from Turlock late in the second half ended the contest before it began as the Pride swept the Bulldogs with three straight wins this year.
“Every game against Turlock the intensity raises so I mean it was good and they played pretty good,” said Pitman head coach Oscar Mercado. “We just got lucky and capitalized on the options that we had so we turned it into a win and that’s good, it’s always good.”
“Pitman was real aggressive, took it to us and just beat us, not much else to say,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry.
Turlock has had a rugged year and ended the season having lost six out of their last seven games—all CCC matches.
After the win Pitman has now beat Turlock in three straight, having outscored them 10-1 in that span and have won five out of their last six meetings with the Bulldogs dating back to last season.
Pitman ended the year with a two-game winning streak and have not lost a game since Oct. 9, having gone 3-0-2 in that span.
This also marks the second straight season that Pitman boys’ soccer has made the Division I Sac-Joaquin section playoffs.
“Always great to make the playoffs,” Mercado said. “It’s a whole other tournament that begins and a good opportunity for these guys with our five sophomores that we have playing. So great experience for them, it’s a beautiful thing. It really is a unique experience for all these young guys.”
Pitman started off the game much like their first meeting earlier in the year as David Amaya notched the opening goal, less than two minutes into the game.
Then at about the 20 minute mark, Fernando Maldonado was able to knock in the second goal of the game and the Pride took a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
“Playoffs were secured even before the game,” Mercado said. “This game was pretty much just to get prepared for playoffs and tried new things with different players in different positions to have options for the game coming up Tuesday.”
It was a physical matchup — as most of their meetings are — but it seemed like the officiating was a bit more off than usual.
For Pitman it wasn’t much of a problem as they handled possession and the pace of the game, really from start to finish.
“Luckily the officiating didn’t affect this one to a certain extent and we told our players to be patient with them,” Mercado said. “I mean with all due respect to the officials, I know it’s a tough job, but I thought the calls have been inconsistent throughout this season.”
Turlock on the other hand saw missed opportunities as they have all season long with their young squad.
“We came out a little flat. Had a couple opportunities early and couldn’t finish and that is what we have seen all year long is early opportunities that we couldn’t finish,” Sperry said.
Pitman’s final goal would come in the second half after Turlock committed an own goal and by then it was all said and done.
Pitman’s first postseason contest will be sometime next week with a time and opponent yet to be determined.
Turlock’s year is over but with a plethora of young and talented stars, next year might seem like a long time but coach Sperry is already excited for what’s to come from the young ‘Dogs.
“We played so many tough games. A lot of late and tough loses and ties and just couldn’t find a way to get the points and wins needed, so hopefully going forward the younger guys can learn from it,” said Sperry. “We weren’t off by much and just couldn’t put it together but I think going forward it’s exciting to get these guys back out there and the direction is going into a good direction.”