The Oakdale Lady Mustangs water polo team hosted Lodi in a non-league game Tuesday, Sept. 15. Led by the junior tandem of Emily Bennett and Clare McKeon, the defending Sac Joaquin Section champions put away Lodi 13-8.
McKeon got things rolling for Oakdale when she scored the game’s first goal with just over six minutes to play in the first quarter. Lodi bounced back and took a 2-1 lead with five minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Lodi’s lead was short lived as McKeon scored a pair of goals less than two minutes apart to regain the lead for the Lady Mustangs. McKeon’s third goal of the game came on a pass from Bennett, who would go on to score Oakdale’s fourth goal of the game 42 seconds later. Bennett provided her second assist of the night on a pass to senior Kate Allan with just over a minute to play in the first quarter.
Up 5-2 after the first quarter, Bennett continued to dominate as she scored back-to-back goals to advance the Lady Mustangs lead to 7-2. The Lady Flames heated up late in the second quarter scoring four unanswered goals to close the gap to 7-6. Bennett broke the 4-0 run by scoring the final goal of the half with 36 seconds left to play.
“We took advantage of the matchups that were presented to us in the first half. If I saw Clare was open I passed it to her, and she finished the play,” said Bennett.
McKeon and Bennett picked up where they left off in the first half as McKeon scored Oakdale’s only two goals of the third quarter to build up the Lady Mustangs lead to 10-6 after three. Bennett tossed in two more goals in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach making it 12-6 with less than six minutes to play. Bennett finished with six goals and two assists. Lodi scored their only goal of the second half with 4:41 left in regulation. McKeon scored the final goal of the game with just under three minutes remaining in the game. McKeon finished the night with six goals and an assist.
“We adjusted really well. We were very aware of each situation. Our coaches did a great job preparing us for the game,” said McKeon.
Oakdale returns to the pool in a road game against Ripon on Oct. 7.