Coming off a strong performance against last year's Central California Conference champions, Merced, just two days prior, the Pitman High boys’ varsity water polo team was hoping to carry some of that momentum into Wednesday's league match with Buhach Colony, but things didn't work out that way.
Rather than a storybook tale, the Pride struggled to find the back of the net after missing over half a dozen shots that clanked off the crossbar in a home contest that ended in a 7-5 result.
“I think we were prepared for the game and I felt we had a decent game plan going in,” said Pitman head coach Colin Wenstrand. “Our biggest issue was we were unable to convert our shots. If you look at our shots on goal, we had plenty of opportunities.”
However, when you shoot nearside low or right at the goalkeeper, they are not going to go in according to Wenstrand.
Pitman couldn't hit the gaps or holes and instead shot right at the BC keeper over half a dozen times for the entire game combined.
“A good goalie will get his hands on the ball if its near so there are places in the cage where we need to put the ball and we are not doing that,” said Wenstrand. “It’s not that we are not getting opportunities, it’s we are not converting those opportunities.”
The team drops to 1-3 in the CCC.
One of the upsides for the Pride, was their ability to contain a Thunder team that was capable of causing problems.
The Pride proved that they are a tough team that can scrap with anybody in the CCC and nearly pulled off the upset on Wednesday.
After the first quarter, the Pride held the Thunder to just a pair of goals, but only plunged in one themselves to go into the second with a 2-1 score.
“We were in the game from the first moment,” said Wenstrand. “They got the first goal of course, but we matched up with them and were down by one after the first quarter and we started to come back, but the problem was that every shot we took seemed to hit the bar or go off to the side.”
It's an issue that the Pride have been having all season long and continued to deal with in a very contested match with BC.
In the first 28 seconds of the second quarter, Ryan Canisso evened the game at 2-2.
BC outscored Pitman after that, 3-1 to close out the first half with a 5-3 lead.
The second half was nearly a stalemate after each side scored just a pair of goals and the result held.
Josh Hamby scored Pitman's third and fourth goals and cut the lead to 5-4 by the end of the third.
Pitman failed to capitalize on a power play in the opening 20 seconds of the fourth, after missing a shot wide which could have tied the game at that point.
BC outscored Pitman 2-1 to close out the final 4:41 and hand the Pride their second straight CCC loss.
“I don't feel like we got beat, I think we beat ourselves,” said Wenstrand. “We came off a high note on Monday to Merced despite the goal gap, we matched them to a level that I was proud of the boys and I hoped to carry that momentum, but a few mistakes here and there and it makes it harder to convert.”