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Pride clinches fourth straight CCC title
Squad sweeps through Cougars at home
Pitman volley 2
Pitman senior, Lindsey Vander Weide goes up for a block attempt in the third set of Wednesdays home victory over Golden Valley. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

For the Pride it should be four times the charm.

It might as well be for the Pitman High varsity volleyball team who have now clinched the Central California Conference for the fourth consecutive season after edging out Golden Valley at home on Wednesday in a 3-0 defeat, (25-10, 25-17 and 25-12).

The Pride, who are coming off their first loss of the season this past Saturday against the number one ranked team in the nation, Archbishop Mitty, came back with a vengeance and dominated Atwater in straight sets on Monday followed by their penultimate home game win over GV.

“Winning CCC four years in a row is a true testament to the depth of talent and experience that we’ve had and continue to have at Pitman,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes. “These girls play nonstop year around and I am truly proud of each and every player who is and has been a part of this program.”

Pitman is still perfect in league with a 12-0 CCC posting and are 32-1 overall and are ranked 13th in the state, with all eyes directing at a lengthy postseason after the most successful regular season for Pride volleyball to-date.

To prepare for the long postseason, Pontes is confident in her team, which is the biggest reason her squad competed in one of the toughest tournaments in the area and possibly in the state, this prior weekend—The Stockton Classic.

It proved to be a huge test for the Pride who were coming in undefeated and with high aspirations.

They started off the morning with a tight win over the no. 25 team in California Presentation, 2-1, followed by back-to-back straight set wins over El Camino (7th) and Notre Dame (27th) which lofted the Pride into the tournament championship game.

It was against the best team in the state—and the nation—Archbishop Mitty from San Jose.

“The girls worked really hard to get there and had some very impressive rallies and points earned in the three matches leading up to the final,” Pontes said.

Mitty, which has arguably been the most consistent and winningest volleyball program in the state over the past decade, did not let down. In fact they played perfect according to Pontes as they have for the past three years, having never lost the ranking of the top program in the state, according to Maxpreps.

In the end, Mitty toppled Pitman, 25-11 and 25-15, handing Pitman the second place trophy for the first time this season and their first defeat of the year.

“I am so glad that we went to that tournament and played Mitty,” Pontes said. “It was an amazing experience. If we are going to lose a match this season that is the type of team we should be losing to. Physically we’re there it’s just the mental part and I think we are ready for it.”

The Pride had been used to being the champions but the valuable lessons and experience learned in this game seems to have the team prepared for a long November Pontes said.

“Mitty had a talent level far exceeding anything we’ve encountered this season, and we had a hard time adjusting to their speed and power on the net,” she added. “I think now going into the postseason, we know the talent level and so we won’t be surprised with who we face and we will go in knowing we have to fight and earn everything.”

“We have a very talented group of ladies who have the capability to make it very far in the post-season, so we need to stay mentally focused and keep our unforced errors down to a minimum.”

Pitman’s record-breaking year will continue with their home finale set for next week at 4 p.m. Monday.

“We have to work for every point and need to earn it and it will not be easy, we have to battle from beginning to end,” said Pontes of her team that has only lost four sets in 86 played this year. “We continue to have team goals for every match in order to push ourselves to the max.”