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Pitman volleyball sweeps Vacaville to move on to semifinals
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The Prides Whitney Barnes tips the ball over the net during Pitmans 3-0 playoff victory against Vacaville High. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

Dreams of a third consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section title continued for the Pitman High volleyball team Thursday night as they took down Vacaville High 3-0, completing their second sweep in just as many games in the section’s Division I playoff tournament.


“I think we controlled the entire match,” said head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian. “The tempo, our offense and defense were on, and everyone did their job on the court.”


The Pitman girls dominated the court once again, jumping out to an early seven-point unanswered lead in the match’s first set. The first scoring run from Pitman was followed by two more — one five-point run and one six-point run — to give the Pride an overwhelming 18-2 lead. They would go on to win the set 25-9.


“You can’t overlook any team,” said Pontes-Christian, who expected a tougher match from the Monticello Empire League champion Bulldogs. “I told the girls no matter what we saw in warm-ups, we are going to expect them to play the hardest game they can and be one of the best teams we’ve played, but it didn’t necessarily turn out that way.”


Vacaville made the game’s second set a closer one thanks to several kills from Lauren Hayward and Brittany Honeycutt. Pitman pulled ahead once again, however, with Yisel Perez and Whitney Barnes leading the charge to win the set 25-13. Perez had 13 kills on the night, and Barnes finished the game with 14 kills and 14 digs.


“I just get a set and think swing, just hit it as hard as you can into an open spot,” said Perez of her successful night. “I was expecting a little bit more from Vacaville, but I think we did well as a team and played together.”


The toughest set of the night came last, as Vacaville kept the pressure on the Pride by never trailing by more than three points in the first half of the third set. Pitman kept their composure on the court, breaking free of the close contest thanks to a six-point run. The final score of the set was 25-15, giving the Pride a 3-0 victory over the Bulldogs.


The win advances Pitman into the playoff semifinals, where they will battle the No. 1 seed Oak Ridge High. The Pride lost to the Trojans 2-1 earlier in the season, but Perez is confident that Pitman will redeem themselves next Tuesday night.


“They’re a good team, but I think they’re beatable,” she said. “We’ve played them before so we know how they play.”

“We’re not overly confident because I don’t think you should be, but we’re feeling good,” said Pontes-Christian. “We’ll have a good practice tomorrow and hopefully be prepared and ready.”

Pitman will play Oak Ridge at 7 p.m. at Oak Ridge High School — the Pride’s first away match of the playoffs.

“It’s always nice to have a home game and it’s to our advantage, but I think we can do just as well anywhere else,” said Pontes-Christian.