The defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion Oakdale Mustangs varsity soccer boys are on the right track after an impressive week. Although Oakdale dropped a game to visiting Franklin 2-0, they regrouped and earned a 5-2 home win over Livingston and finished the week by winning the Gregori Tournament over the weekend.
The Mustangs (6-2-2) split a pair of home non-league matches this week before taking a two day trip to Gregori High School to compete in the tournament. In the team’s victory over Livingston, Oakdale jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The Mustangs tallied a whopping five goals in the match and had just as many assists. Senior Jacob Pierson, junior Josh Barrera, and junior Austin Neave each provided an assist, while Neave paced the team with a pair of goals. Junior Wesley Allen continued to find early season success after he added two assists of his own, and scored a goal in the team’s victory. Adding on to the offensive fire power were junior Collin Harrity and senior Zidane Saucedo, each with a goal. The Mustangs led 3-1 at the break and scored two more goals in the second half to put away the Wolves.
Oakdale took the field at Gregori High School on Friday and were named champions on Saturday evening, after going 3-0-1 in four matches. In their opener against Johansen, which entered the tournament with a 3-0 record, the Mustangs came out aggressive and jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the break, and tacked on another goal for good measure in the final half. Scoring goals for the Mustangs were Allen, Zach Barnum, David Serrano and Manuel Aguilar. Sophomore Nathan Richardson anchored the shutout, as the goalkeeper made four saves between the posts.
Unlike in previous matches, Oakdale’s offense slowed down in their next game. Giving up a first half goal against Chavez High School, Oakdale found themselves down 1-0 at the break. Regrouped and refreshed the Mustangs found their groove as Allen and Serrano each found the back of the net to help carry the Mustangs to a 2-1 comeback victory. Richardson had three saves in the win.
Day two of the tournament was filled with drama and riveting soccer action. In their first game of the day, the Mustangs faced a similar scenario against Merced as they found themselves down 1-0 at the break. Oakdale’s fortune turned in the second half when Aguilar made a swift pass to teammate Barnum for the assist and game tying goal. Oakdale’s Richardson once again made a strong statement in the net, holding off a pair of second half goal attempts to keep the Mustangs in it. Time expired and the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie.
Oakdale took on host Gregori in the finals for the tourney title late Saturday afternoon. The Mustangs did not waste much time as Barrera found Allen for the assist and score to give Oakdale a 1-0 lead, a lead that they held onto going into the break. Richards held Gregori scoreless until a late second half goal tied the match at 1-1. Forced to go into a shootout, the Mustangs were able to find the mark, outscoring Gregori 5-4 in PKs and taking a 2-1 victory in the finale.
Oakdale was scheduled to host Central Valley on Tuesday, after The Leader went to press. Oakdale wraps up the preseason on Friday, Sept. 11 at Sonora.