Just three teams from the Valley Oak League will qualify for the 2012 Sac-Joaquin Section boys soccer playoffs.
Fourth-place Oakdale (5-4-1) did what it could to remain in the conversation by ousting visiting Kimball (0-9-1) by a 5-2 final on Oct. 9, but allowed Lathrop (1-1-6) to steal some momentum with a 1-1 tie on Oct. 11.
Oakdale played third place East Union (5-1-3) in a pivotal conference match in Oakdale on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time.
With Weston Ranch, Manteca and Sonora left on the schedule, Oakdale may need a perfect stanza from the final run of games to sneak into the postseason.
They appeared on the right track when Sergio Gutierrez battered the Kimball net for a three score hat trick. Johnny Torres and Harry Harris also scored in the win while Trenton Pierson, Oskar Nilsson and Cody Trapp (two) all dished out assists. Jake Hicks and Zeke Spani combined for seven saves in the win.
Oakdale trailed early in the tie to Lathrop, but fired back on a score from Davis Harper (Torres assist). Hicks and Spani combined for seven saves in that game as well.
Oakdale fell 5-1 to East Union on Sept. 20, but have beat two teams (Weston Ranch, Lathrop) that the Lancers tied. The VOL is chasing first place Manteca (7-1-1), which Oakdale faces on Oct. 23. The Buffaloes lost to East Union and tied Lathrop.
The SJS playoffs begin on Nov. 1.
A 3-1 win over Lathrop on Oct. 11 propelled the JV Mustangs to a 7-3 mark and third place standing in the VOL. The team rallied behind scores by Austin Burke, Shane Baxter and Zach Barnum while the stellar play of goaltender Derek Martinez held Lathrop in check.