The lady Pride started off Wednesday’s game with an intensity that was matched for nearly the entire first half but as the game progressed the Pride were able to sustain any attacks that were coming from Gregori High.
Freshman Isabella Shallou-Enes started off the game with one of her two goals scored in the first five minute and the Pride took an early advantage over last year’s top Modesto Metro Conference teams.
Gregori responded with a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead nearly a half hour into the first half.
Rayana Plancarte then headed the tying goal after Jasleen Bassi assisted her and before the halftime whistle blew the Pride had scored another after Shallou-Enes knocked it in and the Pride held on in the second half to secure the 3-2 victory.
“In the second half we started to pass the ball a little bit better,” said Pitman head coach Cris Castro. “The first half we gave away too many balls, we made a lot of bad passes, we were stabbing a lot and not delaying the game. We were going right after the player, going right at the ball.”
The Pride’s efficiency was not as consistent as coach Castro had seen in previous games but luckily the determination helped the team move forward.
“We also spoke at the half and wanted to communicate better and that happened; we didn’t stand as much, still made some bad passes but it was less than the first half, so the girls moved around well,” said Castro.
For about a 20 minute span, the Pride were dominated by Gregori’s ability to create chances with their strength and solid ball handling skills.
Gregori went up 2-1 with about three minutes left in the first half, and then Plancarte notched in her score and followed it with an assist to Shallou-Enes, who then nailed in a finesse shot from just a few yards out.
“I really think it could have gone either way,” said Castro.
Two goals were scored in less than 180 seconds by the Pride who went into the half with a lead and never let it slip away.
“Any time you can go toe to toe with a team like Gregori it gives you confidence,” said Castro. “This preseason we want to make sure to play a good team. You don’t get a benefit by playing lesser competition because you might get a win but won’t expose the weaknesses to work on.”
The next game for the Pride will be at home against Central Catholic at 4 p.m. Wednesday.