Turlock High head coach Temo Arteaga wanted nothing more than to have his varsity girls’ soccer team win the Central California Conference title this season.
That wish came true on Wednesday for Arteaga and his squad after defeating crosstown foe Pitman in the regular season finale from the Sports Complex.
The first half stalemate lasted only eight minutes into the second before Turlock finally got on the board with a Daisy Martinez goal and from there the 'Dogs added two more as they fended off the Pride, 3-1.
“I definitely didn't expect it,” said Arteaga. “I knew we would be fighting for the top but not for first. I love to have the championship and not have to be co-champs.”
Merced tied with Golden Valley in their season finale and gave the 'Dogs the outright CCC title after that game marked final.
“I thought the game was well played on both sides,” said Pitman head coach Cris Castro. “Turlock played a very good game and personally I felt we outplayed them and played very well and had some opportunities and so did they, but we were victims of two goals that should not have happened.”
It was one year exactly that Pitman finished atop the CCC standings. This year, the tables turned.
Pitman was eliminated from playoff contention over a week ago, but end the year in fourth place in league with a 4-5-2 record. Their overall regular season record for the year was 8-8-4.
“Unlucky breaks this year that could have made the difference between a first or second place finish but that is how it goes. We will live to fight another year,” said Castro.
Turlock ends the year with a 9-1-2 record in CCC play and an overall record of 14-1-3.
“I told the girls that I am excited because it’s been a year without being on top and I don't like it,” said Arteaga. “I don't like that feeling.”
The Bulldogs didn't start off the first half how they had hoped. It was Pitman who came out with a quick pace and tempo. They created multiple opportunities within the first 10 minutes while holding Turlock to nothing.
The ball also was played on the Turlock's half of the field for the start, but neither side was able to capitalize as the first half ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
“At first the girls were not all there, playing a little timid with the tackles and especially because they know the players from clubs but at the end we are here competing,” said Arteaga. “We changed our mentality in the second half.”
The first goal came off a loose free kick at the 48th minute. Sophomore Daisy Martinez managed to creep through multiple defenders and the goalkeeper, as she tucked the ball to the left corner of the goal to put Turlock up 1-0.
The biggest questionable call of the game happened at the 58-minute mark when Pitman's Serena Walls was called for foul inside the penalty area.
“I will say it, I don't care... the PK was not a penalty and the foul that resulted in a goal that was not a foul and either doesn't happen and those two goals don't score and maybe we have a different outcome,” said Castro. “Those calls I don't agree with them at all and they ended up costing us the game unfortunately.”
Megan Drew powered in the penalty in the back of the net and gave the 'Dogs a 2-0 lead with 22 minutes remaining in the game.
“You can't control the referees,” said Arteaga. “You can only control yourself. Sure, there were bad calls on both sides of the field but at the end of the day, it was the end result. We can only control our players and Pitman had some calls that could have decided the game easily but we capitalized on our opportunity.”
Giselle Barajas of Pitman scored the only goal for Pitman just three minutes later and then just 11 minutes later, Alicia Hill was able to cherry pick the third goal after it ricocheted to put Turlock up for good at 3-1.