ONLINE EXCLUSIVE -- A thrilling five-game showdown for the final say on the Valley Oak League volleyball title race fell Sonora's way when the final point dropped in front of stunned Mustang players for a 15-13 Sonora victory late Tuesday night.
One second Oakdale High boys water polo coaches Alan Stender and David Earle were inconspicuously talking with Mustang parents, and the next they were scrambling to ditch wallets and cell phones as a pack of grinning athletes wrestled them from their poolside stances. Suddenly, both fully clothed coaches were dumped into the pool at the Oakdale Aquatic Center.
Oakdale High's freshman standout Mabel Wong had already dominated the Valley Oak League field throughout the prep golf season, but saved her best performance for the end of conference play. Wong shot a 74 to earn medalist honors at the Brookside Country Club in Stockton and best the next closest golfer by nine strokes. That finale helped her claim a landslide VOL MVP in her first high school campaign.
Oakdale High golfers are already well into their postseason, but their counterparts in water polo, volleyball, tennis, and soccer are still searching for conference closure with only a few contests left on the schedule.
The Valley Oak League sports schedules must be written by Steven Spielberg, because prep football, volleyball and water polo seasons tend to end like a blockbuster movie.Today's (Oct. 26) Sonora at Oakdale water polo match marks the start of a 10-day span that represents the area's biggest and most exciting conference contests of the fall as traditional rivals vie for respective league championships.
A terrific sophomore season as the top runner on Oakdale High's varsity girls cross country team in 2010 has paved the way for continued success and the same role for now-junior Liz Erwin in 2011. The determined OHS student leads all female runners on a strong young program. She broke free for a 25-minute, 5-second time on a five-kilometer course at Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale on Wednesday during the second Valley Oak League cluster meet.
No Oakdale High athlete had bigger shoes to fill this fall than varsity water polo goalkeeper Hayley Benson. With 2010-11 Oakdale Leader Athlete of the Year Morgan Kinyon departed via graduation, Benson was thrown into the pool and in front of the net this season.
Oakdale High's freshman girls volleyball team claimed a host invitational championship, while soccer, water polo, tennis and golf teams saw their own brand of success during conference and tournament action over the past week.
Oakdale High's senior goalkeeper, Scotty McNeil, made a huge impact on the Mustang varsity soccer team over the past week. With Oakdale facing two tough opponents after a 0-3-1 start to the Valley Oak League season, McNeil stepped up with big plays on the defensive and offensive front to lead his team to two straight victories.