Coach: Alfredo Quiroga (14th season)
Key Returners: SR GK Morgan Kinyon, SR D Jordan Laugero, SR F Bryanna Welch, SR F Jenna Micheletti, SR D Alyssa Kummer, SR MF Katie Adian, SR D/MF Emily Wallace, SR MF Hailey Turney
Key Newcomers: SO F/MF Markie Arnold, SO F Jill Kahler, JR MF Sara Siemsen, JR MF Adriana Hernandez, JR D Sydni Avant
Team Strength: You can’t get much deeper than this team. Oakdale could realistically substitute out their entire lineup, minus Kinyon, and wouldn’t see much of a drop in experience or talent. Seventeen of these 22 players have been playing together in year-round action with an Oakdale United competitive travel team, and they sport some incredible rapport between them. Oakdale is truly solid across the entire field.
VOL Outlook: Oakdale tied and defeated Sierra, but allowed the Timberwolves to win a league title last year. This year the Lady Mustangs are looking to stay healthy and claim a 2011 title outright. Manteca (5-1) and East Union (5-1-1) should join Sierra (2-0) on Oakdale’s list of top VOL teams to beat. Oakdale took the eventual section champion, West Campus, to penalty kicks during a playoff loss last year, and will look for vengeance this season.
Fast Fact: Oakdale goalkeeper Morgan Kinyon doesn’t believe in allowing goals. She has a prolific career as a ball stopper in both soccer and water polo. Her deft hands are legendary on the Mustang campus.
Oakdale High girls soccer players and coaches won’t soon forget that fateful evening in May of 2010, when West Campus shooters bested Mustang kickers in a penalty kick shootout for a 3-2 victory in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Oakdale was sent home to mourn their season finish while West Campus went on to win a section title.
Some 295 days later, Oakdale is primed for revenge, but won’t get the exact shot they wanted. West Campus has been realigned to the Division V Golden Empire League, leaving Oakdale to tackle the best teams from their own Valley Oak League, Sierra Valley Conference and Western Athletic Conference in 2010.
“I think this year we are better equipped and have better depth,” Oakdale coach Alfredo Quiroga said. “We are definitely gunning for a section tile. First we have league, and if we can come out on top, will have a good shot at sections because we’ll be playing at home in the playoffs.”
The number of playoff seeds from each league have yet to be announced, but all signs point to a new-look postseason if Oakdale can garner a return trip — and they should.
The Lady Mustangs return a big crop of seniors to this year’s squad, and sport 17 players who have competed alongside each other in the same year-round travel program for the past two years.
“It helps dramatically to have players that have been playing together for so long,” Quiroga said. “It pushes the newcomers to step up and increase their level of play.”
Oakdale also sports one of the best goalkeepers in VOL history in sure-handed Morgan Kinyon. She has a canny eye for the ball and is pretty much fearless in any situation.
Kinyon (56 saves this season) joins a deep cast of 14 total returning players on a roster of 22.
It’s a big reason Oakdale (3-0-2) hasn’t lost a preseason game despite shuffling the field roster to give pretty much everyone a look at the field in each contest.
Quiroga said he will stick with a more consistent lineup to keep the rhythm solid once Oakdale begins league play, but is still getting his last looks at his team members’ varying production on the field.
Oakdale went 3-0-1 in the Pitman Tournament to start the year and tied Tracy in a 3-3 game on March 1 under the lights. Jenna Micheletti (two goals) and Markie Arnold found the net in that contest while Bryanna Welch, Katie Odom and Kerri Feuerstein also managed assists.
Micheletti, Arnold, Feuerstein, Jill Kahler and Kristen Brunk have put together some impressive offensive combinations this season, and will be the focal point of Oakdale’s attack.
Senior defenders Jordan Laugero, Katie Adian, Emily Wallace and Alyssa Kummer have been big in supporting Kinyon and feeding the ball to midfielders like Welch and team captain Hailey Turney.
Oakdale hosts Enochs at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday to continue preseason action. The team picks up league play against host Sierra on March 16.