After a questionable start for Pitman High’s soccer team in Tuesday’s first round CIF Sac-Joaquin Section game that resulted in a win, the Pride returned back in action for a Thursday matchup that saw them dominating a visiting Oak Ridge.
It was a total team effort for the Pride as they out-played and outlasted the visiting Trojans en route to a 2-0 shutout in the second round of the postseason.
“We give all the credit to the players. We spoke yesterday about things we can adjust in games and one is work ethic, because it would be a shame to go out without putting that extra effort that we lacked in the first half of the last game,” Pitman assistant coach Cesar Mercado said. “We came out with a better work ethic this time.”
The first half was dead even, with both defense and offense producing. It was a physical match from the start until the closing minutes, when junior prodigy, Adolfo Maldonado was able to drain the ball in the back of the net to put the Pride up by one going into the half.
By the start of the second, the Pride were unsteady, missing easy passes and giving the visiting Trojans opportunities to contest, but the outstanding defensive play from Brent Davis, Ricky Ramirez and Shawn Bassi was enough. Sophomore goalkeeper, Jesus Nunez was able to come away with a clean sheet.
“The players really work hard and have improved throughout the season, and we will see how far we can make it,” Mercado said. “There’s always a margin of error of course it is part of the game but our team loves the challenge.”
With about 20 minutes left to play in regulation, Grant Tallent was able to pick up the penalty inside the goalies box. Ramirez took the shot but the ball bounced back to him and he sank it in for the closing goal of the match.
“We had to stay confident and keep our heads up no matter if we’re winning or losing — just have to keep the intensity up,” Ramirez said. “Communicating well really helped us get this win. We really want to win this year, it’s really tough to get this far and we just need two more wins.”
The number two seeded Pitman will host a very tough third ranked Granite Bay squad at 3 p.m. Wednesday.