Oakdale High’s boys and girls water polo teams saw exits from the Division II Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs after tough losses to top-tier Sacramento area programs at Woodcreek High last week. The losses to end their seasons, however, don’t at all diminish the huge successes seen by both squads this year.
The boys topped Mira Loma (11-4) and Woodcreek (12-8) to reach the 16-team semifinals, but dropped a 16-5 decision to eventual Division II champions, Rio Americano.
Oakdale girls beat Whitney in a one-sided 13-2 opening round before a heartbreaking 7-6 defeat to host Woodcreek.
The losses brought an end to a dramatic and exciting season that saw both programs snare undefeated Valley Foothill League titles while playing in a spectacular new Oakdale Aquatic Center.
“It was a lot of fun to be on campus and have a brand new facility in such a wonderful season,” Oakdale coach Alan Stender said. “Our kids got here in the morning and saw how football players were working and we probably had twice as many fans at our home matches.”
Stender, who coached Oakdale in its first independent club schedule in 2004 and Modesto Metro Conference appearance in 2005, has seen some big changes from the top program in the area.
Oakdale boys and girls bested the top playoff qualifiers from both local Division I leagues (the MMC and Central California Conference) and nabbed several tournament medals in a busy schedule of contests.
“We have done very well with the talent we have and we are going to work as hard as anyone to continue to get better,” Stender said. “There was not anyone we lost to in between Lodi and Madera, up and down the valley.”
Oakdale’s boys topped Woodcreek after nine Michael Tripp saves and five Neal Cadra goals. Brandon Terwilliger and Jeremy Neathery each scored twice while Cody Becker, Cory Onken and Brett Taylor managed a score each. Terwilliger went on to score three times in the loss to Rio Americano, Cadra adding two tallies. Tripp had nine saves in the loss.
Oakdale’s girls saw a one-score overtime defeat despite 16 huge saves from Morgan Kinyon and four scores from Savannah Stender.
Stender was named the VFL MVP while Kinyon and Jennie Siemsen each collected first team honors. Jessica Myers and Cassie Lee were second-team All VFL selections while Jamie Lahey made the honorable mention team.
Oakdale boys saw a VFL co-MVP from Cadra and first team status from Tripp, Terwilliger and Onken. Neathery was a second team selection while Cody Becker made an honorable mention appearance.