A busy non-league lineup, including Oakdale High’s participation in their own volleyball tournament on Saturday, has prepared the Lady Mustangs for competition in the battle for a Valley Oak League title this season.
The road to that mark leads Oakdale (3-0 VOL) to undefeated East Union (3-0) and Sonora (3-0) in the next few league contests.
The team will face off with host East Union on Thursday and see Sonora on Oct. 7.
“We need to worry about each match, and we have some big ones coming up,” Oakdale coach Shelli Ponce said. “We’ve got to take it game by game.”
The Mustangs went 3-2 in the Oakdale Tournament on Saturday, ousting Central Catholic to open pool play on 25-12, 25-3 wins. Enochs stole a narrow 22-25, 25-27 win in the second contest, before Oakdale could snare a solid seed in bracket play with a 25-4, 25-5 rout of Grace Davis.
The Lady Mustangs landed a sharp 25-20, 25-15 win over Modesto Christian to slip into the tournament quarterfinals, where eventual tournament champions, Summerville, delivered a 20-25, 22-25 bid to the semis.
Summerville went on to oust Beyer in impressive 15-12, 15-19 fashion for the tourney title.
“I think the tournament ran smoothly, but as far as Oakdale was concerned, I felt we could have done better,” Ponce said. “We had some mental errors late in the day that really hurt us.”
Oakdale seniors Jackee Lee and Justina Keith delivered big tournament performances, combining for an incredible 70 service points in the first three pool games alone. The girls landed several big aces and saw Lee put up terrific sets in front of her home crowd.
“Jackee had a full tournament to set and she had great hands,” Ponce said. “She really stepped up as a great team leader.”
The combination of lanky blockers Haily McIntyre, Domi Powell and McKenzie Willett provided Mustang dominance at the net, while Keith’s big serves dominated Modesto Christian in a one-sided second game to open bracket play. She was also turned to often for big kills from the outside in tourney competition.
“I think we are playing the best we have played so far this season,” Keith said. “I think we are clicking really well and have come together as a team.”
Oakdale beat Lathrop, Sierra and Manteca in a series of 3-0 games to dominate Manteca Unified School District opposition at the start of league. They see one more MUSD school in East Union on Thursday, and another in Weston Ranch on Tuesday.
Oakdale won back-to-back matches to improve to 2-1 in VOL play. Jessica Shatswell smashed seven kills against Sierra in a 20-25, 25-16, 15-12 win. Leah Burchell delivered four digs while Emily Mason chipped in six aces.
The team also topped Manteca in 25-16, 26-28, 15-10 scores after five Shatswell kills. Hannah Butler served seven aces while Kyla Lewis added 10 digs.
“It was nice to see that all the work on our defense was working and the girls showed that during the game, they played as a team instead of individuals — which is what we strive for,” Oakdale coach Dana Hernandez said.