For the first time this season, after three straight Central California Conference wins, the Pitman High varsity girls’ water polo team lost.
It happened at the hands of Buhach Colony after a home match that didn't go well for the Pride who found themselves in trouble early in the second half, and eventually lost 9-6.
“It wasn't our best performance,” said Pitman head coach Erica Crain. “The first half was alright, we kind of got a little unmotivated when they scored some goals and made it look easy and I think my girls got lost and had a slow reaction, but did a lot better towards the end.”
Down 3-4 with 2:10 left in the second quarter, Pitman decided to attempt to score a goal to tie it just before the half with a strong counter attack. It took about less than a minute, but with 1:18, the Pride's Audrey Morgan, ripped a shot that barely missed the back of the net and just as the half nearly winded down the Pride struck again but couldn't find the net and they went into halftime down a goal.
Just as the referee blew the whistle for the teams to prepare for the third quarter, BC's head coach openly yelled to her girls that they would regret giving up the lead. They heard their coach loud and clear while the Pride just seemed to go with the motion.
“Instead of learning from our mistakes, we were flat, but once we figured it out near the end, it helped,” said Crain.
BC scored three consecutive goals in a three and a half minute span that saw the Pride commit half a dozen turnovers in under four minutes.
“I think we got a little lazy with the passes and where the girls were, plus we also expected the refs to call some fouls that we didn't get maybe,” said Crain. “So instead of making the pass we stopped at times and Buhach was playing aggressively. We can't go down that late and expect to win.”
Pitman trailed 8-4 as the third winded down. They were outscored 4-1 in the third and it didn't help that BC came out with the same fire in the opening minute of the fourth and built the biggest lead of the game at 9-4.
“I think for us, we never had a team who has had one certain dominant player or one to support that player and Buhach, obviously from what we all saw, has some talent,” said Crain.
Despite their early success to contain BC, the third quarter woes were too heavy to overcome, although they shutout BC in the final six minutes and went on to score a pair of goals to cut the lead to three.
BC decided to play it safe in the final 2:20 and held on to possession, while blocking and stealing nearly any attempt from Pitman in the process.
“They were tough and I think my girls were taken back by that but then afterwards that they were good, it was just they have to do it quicker next time,” said Crain. “I don't want to say we want to forget about this game as much as learn from it because if we don't then we are not going to go far from here.”
Pitman senior Samantha Guerino scored a team-high three goals while Audrey Morgan scored a goal as well, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit that the Thunder built in the third.
The Pride committed over a dozen turnovers in the second half alone.
“I think they can have this game since we do play them again,” Crain added. “Our girls need to learn from it and grow and if we don't we are where we are, but I think if we do then we should have a good season since we also have Turlock soon and they are excited about that.”