This year’s Pitman High volleyball squad is already in the history books after a perfect start to the season with a 13-0 overall record that includes an early 2-0 start in the Central California Conference after topping out Golden Valley High at home on Wednesday in a 3-0 win, (25-15, 25-12 and 25-6).
Not only has the team started undefeated after two league games, but each win thus far has come in straight sets, a first time for the Pride in school history.
“I think it is a true testament to how much talent this team has, again, individually and working together as a team,” Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes said. “We always go in thinking we are really focused on keeping that intensity up from beginning to end no matter what the score is.”
This squad has also captured first place in the 40-team tournament at the Central California Classic, which took place at GV in the first weekend of September.
“Offensively and defensively, I think we are the best we have ever been and we just have a lot of depth as far as everyone,” said Pontes. “Whether girls are on the court or on the bench, they all do their job and make very few mistakes. I think that is what puts us above the others.”
If things continue to go this way, this team might end up being the best team in school history by the early projections, but there is still a lot of work to do.
“I think this year we are a well put together team and I think we work well together better than last year because everything meshes so well,” said Pitman senior Lindsey Vander Weide. “There has yet to be a time where we don't work together and everyone on the team is a great player.”
Vander Weide, who is committed to University of Oregon, has steadily become a force to be reckoned with in the Valley and throughout the state for coach Pontes.
She added on 15 kills, four blocks and six digs in an already dominating performance by the Pride over the Cougars.
“Every game is different because they can come super strong, but you never know,” she said. “GV nearly beat us at the tournament since they have some great hitters but we came in not cocky and knowing we could win but still had to play hard till the end.”
Things were close only in the first game after the Pride topped out their CCC foes in GV, 25-15.
The Cougars would not get a taste of the lead for the remainder of the match as the Pride's strikes and consistency were on point from top to bottom.
“I think this team is highly motivated on their own. They are all so competitive, they want to win, they desire to win and it’s really not me having to force it because it is natural for them,” Pontes said.
Maddy Halteman was on point as usual and finished the match with 31 assists to go with her three aces.
Ashleigh Phelps tied Vander Weide with six digs and Whitney Barnes tied Halteman with three aces.
Things will only get tougher for the Pride, who are currently ranked ninth in the state, but they are up for the challenge.
“There is a lot of self motivation on this team. It seems like we are all usually pumped up, nobody is ever negative on this team and we condition a lot,” said Vander Weide. “We are well in shape so I don't think we will wear down as the year progresses. We should stay pretty strong through it all.”
The Pride will look to keep their streak alive this weekend as they will compete in the Harbor Invitational in Santa Cruz beginning Saturday at a time to be announced against Harbor High.
“Obviously the second and third round of league we will have to do a few things differently but we always have a goal for every match,” Pontes said. “We are always thinking about the postseason and past that and hoping to do well in the tournaments we play as well.”