There’s a fine line between cocky and confident and Pitman senior Maddy Halteman felt her team crossed it coming into Monday’s match against Golden Valley.
As a result, the Pride dropped its first game of the season but rebounded to extend its Central California Conference winning streak to 41 with a 21-25, 25-18, 25-11, 25-19 victory over Golden Valley at Cougar Arena.
“We came in confident,” said Halteman, who had 38 assists. “They did well and they were on their game and we didn’t expect it.”
The Pride (25-0, 7-0 CCC) had won 58 consecutive games without a loss this season, but faced a fired up Golden Valley (20-11, 4-3) team looking for the upset.
Pitman coach Kristen Pontes-Christian burned two timeouts trying to get the Pride on track, but Golden Valley ran off seven points to take a 24-16 lead before winning 25-21.
“It was a good wake-up call for us,” Pontes-Christian said. “It’s been smooth sailing for us. We’ve had some close matches but we haven’t dropped a game. It was a good eye-opener. It made us realize we have to come out ready to play. Unfortunately, we didn’t and Golden Valley did.”
The Pride’s superior talent took over the final three games.
Halteman had her choice of hitters to set up in Oregon-bound outside hitter Lindsey Vander Weide (16 kills) and two underclassmen in sophomore outside hitter Yisel Perez (14 kills) and freshman middleblocker Whitney Barnes (seven kills, four blocks).
“You have to be aggressive and attack them,” Golden Valley coach Matt Thissen said. “If you want to sit back and wait for Pitman to give a point away it’s not going to happen. I thought we had good blocks and did a good job of getting a hand on balls at the net in the first game. In the final three games that got away from us.”
In the final three games, the Pride looked like the team that has dominated the CCC the last three years. Pitman took a 17-6 lead in the second game and led 19-6 in the third.
“We almost seemed satisfied after winning the first game against them,” Thissen said. “We lost our hunger. I thought we were flat in the next two games.”
Belen Castillo carried a heavy load for Golden Valley, recording 31 kills, eight blocks and 14 digs. Camille Flores added 33 assists, 10 digs and two aces.
“We had some moments where we looked pretty good, but Pitman is an awfully good team,” Thissen said. “They’re not going to beat themselves. You’re going to have to beat them.”