In a much anticipated finals showdown, the number one seeded Weston Ranch Cougars took on the second seeded and defending Section champion Oakdale Mustangs on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Stockton’s Stagg High School. The 2015 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Boys Soccer showdown featured the two Valley Oak League representatives, champion Weston Ranch and league runner ups Oakdale, who defeated the Cougars twice during the regular season, but came up on the wrong side of a 2-0 score Saturday.
“It is very difficult to beat a team three times in one season. Weston Ranch is a tough team and they out worked us today,” said Mustangs head coach Alfredo Quiroga.
The Mustangs fell behind 1-0 after a goal by Omar Centeno in the first half. The Cougars carried the 1-0 lead into the break, however, Oakdale had opportunities close to the goal but couldn’t find a way to cash in. Oakdale’s bad fortunes continued in the second half when senior midfielder Jake Burchell went down with an undisclosed injury and missed the remainder of the match. The physicality of the match continued as yellow cards were handed out to both teams and two red cards were assessed to the Mustangs. Oakdale’s Jose Solis was pulled from his goalkeeping duties early in the second half when he was red carded following a slide into a Cougars player away from the goal. Solis was replaced by first half goalkeeper Nathan Richardson. Oakdale’s Bryce Hobbs was also ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct on the sidelines during the final minutes of the contest. Centeno scored his second goal for the Cougars late in the second half to claim the blue banner.
Prior to Saturday’s loss, the Mustangs entered the finals riding a thrilling 1-0 victory over Patterson in Oakdale on Wednesday night, where junior Collin Harrity scored the game winner on a header from Michael Arauza assist late in the second half.
“It’s just a right place at the right time for me. Michael supplied me with a great pass and somehow it went in,” said Harrity of his game winner on Nov. 11.
Despite the outcome of Saturday’s game, Oakdale had many highlights during the 2015 season, including the dramatic playoff run where they knocked off both Mira Loma and Rio Americano in home overtime wins.
“I am very proud of the boys, they played great during this run,” Quiroga said of his team.