The Oakdale Mustangs boys water polo nearly pulled off the upset over the top ranked Christian Brothers in Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff action. But the host Falcons swooped in late to grab the victory.
On Wednesday morning, Nov. 8, the fourth seeded Mustangs fell to the number one seed Falcons 5-3 at Tokay High School to end their water polo season.
The Mustangs entered the semifinals coming off an 11-3 victory over Dixon.
On Wednesday, senior Dakota McNeil scored the only goal of the first quarter with 1:58 left to put the visiting Mustangs up 1-0.
Christian Brothers regrouped and scored two goals in the second to take a 2-1 advantage. Goals by Sam Noonan and Jason Carrey gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead at the break. The back-and-forth battle continued in the second half as Oakdale scored two unanswered goals to regain the lead. With a six on five advantage, the Mustangs tied the game on McNeil’s second goal with 5:02 left in the third. McNeil then gave the Mustangs a 3-2 lead with 1:31 left in the third to complete his hat trick.
“Getting open is key. You have to pass the ball to be successful in this game,” McNeil said. “I was passing and getting open. My teammates found me and I took advantage of the opportunities that were presented to me.”
Things unraveled for the Mustangs, however, in the final five minutes of the game. The Falcons scored three goals in the final 4:19 to rally for the victory. Carrey scored two of his three goals for the host team in the fourth and Nicolas Piper scored a goal to power the Falcons into the finals.
“We made too many turnovers in the fourth. That allowed them (Christian Brothers) to get back into the game,” head coach Diane Kline explained. “We played very well on defense. Anytime you can hold a team like Christian Brothers to five goals, you did your job defensively.”