With a solid 3-2-3 record thus far, coach Alfredo Quiroga and the Oakdale High School boys soccer team are optimistic about the upcoming regular season.
“We have overcome so much already. With seniors graduating this past summer, and others that were on the team last year (that) have decided to explore other sports, we have a group of guys who want to play, and they have played well. It’s truly remarkable the progress they have put into it,” praised Quiroga.
The team opened up the preseason with a pair of matches at Pitman High School in Turlock for the Pitman Tournament Aug. 29 and 30. First on tap for the Mustangs was Golden Valley. Oakdale jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and never looked back as the team added two more goals in the second half to complete a 3-0 shutout. Goals were from senior Jose Becerra, and sophomores Manuel Aguilar and Wesley Allen. Assists were dished out by junior David Serrano, senior Juan Rangel, and sophomore Winslow Barrales. Also contributing to the winning effort was the tough goaltending of junior Derrick Pennington, who had four saves in the game.
Later that evening, the Mustangs clashed with Central Valley, and the teams played to a 1-1 tie, as both teams scored in the second half. Serrano provided the team’s lone goal unassisted. Pennington continued to have an impressive night with four saves in the game.
The next day, Oakdale would open against Beyer, and much like their contest against Central Valley, the Mustangs played their way to another 1-1 tie. Rangel found the net in the second half for the Mustangs. Pennington had three saves in the game. In game two of the afternoon and the fourth and final game of the tournament, Oakdale shut out the Thunder of Buhach Colony 2-0, scoring goals in both the first and second half, as Ivan Marquez and Abe Jauregui provided the goals with assists from Michael Arauza and Barrales. Pennington made five saves to help propel the Mustangs to a 2-0-2 weekend record.
With not much time to regroup from an eventful weekend, the Mustangs found themselves on the field on Tuesday, Sept. 2 against Livingston. On short rest, the Mustangs mustered a 2-1 road victory over the Wolves to improve to a 3-2-3 record. Continuing their scoring efforts were Becerra and Jauregui, with Allen chipping in with an assist.
The Mustangs continued their busy schedule as they participated in another weekend tournament hosted by Gregori High School Sept. 5 and 6. Unlike the previous tournament, this proved to be a more challenging task for the boys, going winless as they lost 2-1 to Davis and getting blanked 4-0 by Atwater. The Mustangs tied 1-1 against Weston Ranch.
The Mustangs will have three straight home matches to complete the preseason: Tuesday against Tracy, Wednesday against Beyer and the finale on Thursday against Sonora.