Every season is a new season.
Unfortunately for the Pitman High boys’ soccer team this was the story after a historic run last year where the team was ranked as high as seventh in the state, this year, just wasn't theirs.
As the number 13 seeded team, the Pride managed to upset the fourth ranked Modesto High in the opening round of the Division I CIF Sac-Joaquin Section tournament and despite a better performance against Oak Ridge in the quarterfinals, they were just outplayed in the end by the team and the officials.
When it was all said and done, the Pride had fell in the second round of the postseason 0-3.
“It went well. I think that we put some good pressure, but we played better against Modesto and that time anything could happen. We just couldn't capitalize,” said Pitman head coach Oscar Mercado.
Despite the inconsistent calls from the referees, Pitman stayed in the game after a stalemate first half, but in the second half, Oak Ridge was firing away on all cylinders and managed to put the game out of reach from the start.
“Inconsistent calls throughout the game and sometimes getting called for something that the other team wasn’t called on, not justifying the calls, but when the calls are different it can affect the unfolding of the game,” Mercado said.
Both teams saw equal opportunities in the first half, but both keepers made critical saves to keep both squads in the game.
“It seemed like each side had opportunities in the first half but both keepers had great saves, two to three opportunities but nobody could capitalize,” said Mercado.
As the second half began, both teams looked hopeful and after Pitman's Anthony Zuno went out with an injury some defensive adjustments were made but it seemed like this triggered the loss.
About a minute into the second half, Oak Ridge drilled their first score of the contest and 15 minutes after, they had taken a 2-0 lead with about 25 minutes left in the game but it was all over from there.
“After the injury we had to make adjustments due to injuries and had to fix the backline but our guys were just caught off guard,” said Mercado of the first goal scored. “We had time but at that point the pressure was on and we had to press up and leave room in the back.”
This led to the third and final goal from Oak Ridge as the clean sheet was finished to end Pitman's 2014 campaign.
Oak Ridge's goals came from Clayton Smith, Tyler Sarner and Sam Miller.
“Absolutely I am satisfied as a coach and former player. You demand the most out of yourself and the team and sometimes you get in and get hot and that is what competition is about,” Mercado said. “That makes you better and it was a good season and I think we learned a lot.”
“I want to give thanks to all the coaches, coach Villanueva, Castro and Cesar Mercado for helping out and taking time to help with coaching and the program and helping it grow and thank the boys. They did an excellent job.”