Two of the top volleyball teams in the area played one of the best matches of the season on Wednesday.
It’s no surprise the Central California Athletic League matchup between Modesto and Pitman came down to a thrilling finish.
Modesto overcame an 11-9 deficit in the fifth game to beat the Pride 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13.
“That was unbelievable,” Modesto coach Traci Harris said. “That came down to passing for us at the end.”
The final point of the match took close to a minute with Modesto winning after the Pride were called for too many hits.
The fifth set started off poorly for the Panthers as the Pride took an early 5-3 lead and led 11-9 before Modesto senior Tori Galloway had two straight kills to tie the game up at 11.
After the win, the Panthers embraced each other and their fans and celebrated a big victory to start the league season.
“This is huge,” Harris said. “Pitman, they are a legacy and they are stacked. It could have gone either way.”
It was a sloppy first set for the Panthers as the Pride started the match on a 5-0 run and proceeded to win the set. Harris said the slow start was a result of a 3-0 defeat the Panthers suffered to St. Mary’s the night before.
Led by Galloway and seniors Alyssa Cover and Hannah Scott, Modesto won the next two sets and looked like it was going to cruise to an easy win in the fourth set as the Panthers led 17-8 before things fell apart.
“Passing,” Harris said. “That’s where we lost it. We couldn’t pass the ball.”
Seniors Cierra Verdone and Emma Hirschkorn led the charge for the Pride with a couple of kills each in the fourth set as Pitman came back to win the set, bringing the fans to their feet.
Galloway and Scott each had 17 kills for the Panthers while senior Avery Carlson had 18 kills for the Pride.
Harris said her team needs to continue to “play to win instead of trying not to lose.”
Modesto is 19-3 and 1-0 in league while Pitman falls to 8-7 and 0-1 in CCAL play.
Modesto is at Central Valley on Thursday while Pitman hosts Gregori next Monday.