Pitman High’s girls’ and boys’ varsity water polo squads ended their penultimate match of the season with a win over Central California Conference foe Buhach Colony at home on Thursday.
The boys, who have had a rugged season where goals just haven’t hit the back of the net, but instead has clanked off the post on countless occasions, managed to top the Thunder, 11-8.
“The guys definitely met what we were expecting and we wanted to make sure that we were staying aware of when the opposition was going to counter on us,” Pitman boys head coach Ryan Bullard said. “We made sure we anticipated faster than they did and I thought we did a great job of that tonight.”
The Pride girls, who come off a big 6-5 loss against Merced, were able to rebuttal as they had no problem against the Thunder and came away with a 12-5 win.
“We lost against Merced earlier in the week and the girls fought hard after having a rough week,” said Pitman girls head coach Michaela Solario. “The girls played well, we just lost our groove and got into a midseason funk and couldn’t get out of it even though we didn’t put away the shots, the girls fought.”
It has been more of a fight than recent years, especially after the lady Pride managed to grab their eighth league win of the season, securing a postseason berth for the first time since 2008.
“When I came in it was sort of rebuilding so I wanted the girls to know that there would be consistency, not only in coaching style but the coaches that are there from their freshman year,” Solario said. “I expected the girls to do well but to be able to do it at this level and show the passion and love for the sport which I have, there is no greater feeling than that.”
The girls were up 6-3 with just over two minutes left in the third period, but a 6-2 run ended the bout with the Pride edging out the Thunder by seven goals.
Erin Tait scored the Pride’s final three goals of the game, while Kim Canisso added on three goals, three assists and six steals.
“These girls are special, they opened my eyes to different things this year,” Solario said. “They are excited yet nervous to make it to sections because it is a big deal. Regardless if we make it out of the first game or go all the way, it’s just a big deal to get there and we want to go far.”
Although the boys squad was in a nice groove on Thursday night, they will miss the postseason after a late game scoring frenzy ended in favor of the Pride.
The Pride are now 3-6 in the CCC, despite their big win over the Thunder but the future looks bright for the young Pride.
“The way these kids are finishing near the end of it all really helps moving forward and looking into next season to build that kind of character in these young men right now,” Bullard said.
It was a blazing start from the Pride, who went up 4-0 after the first three minutes of action.
Buhach would then score three unanswered to cut the deficit to one in the second period but the Pride picked up the pace once more as they notched two more before the first half ended.
Both sides started the third period like they had something to prove, and it was Buhach who would score first, but yet again, Pitman retaliated by scoring two consecutive shots to end the third at 8-4.
Things looked lopsided and out of reach for the Thunder, but they didn’t give up as they outscored Pitman 4-3 in the fourth period, but it wasn’t enough as the Pride waved in a three goal victory.
“I think it is important and shows the character of this squad and how they are trying to take every game seriously and they are working hard,” Bullard added. “They are taking into consideration what we teach them in practice and they are applying it.”
Pitman’s home finale will be held next week, which is also senior night against Turlock High at 6 p.m. Thursday.