The Oakdale Mustangs varsity soccer team will be making its return to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Sections playoffs. Oakdale finished the 2014 regular season on the road this week, falling to the undefeated Weston Ranch Cougars 2-1 and then rebounded with a 4-1 victory over winless Central Catholic.
The stage was set Monday, Oct. 27 as the Mustangs went into Stockton to face Weston Ranch for a share of the 2014 Valley Oak League Championship. Weston Ranch blanked Oakdale 2-0 when the Cougars visited the Mustangs earlier this season. Since that Oct. 1 game, the Mustangs had gone 6-0 in league play and were both focused and determined to avenge the previous defeat. However the Mustangs fell behind 1-0 in the first half. Oakdale tied the game with just under five minutes to play, as junior Ivan Marquez found senior teammate Jose Becerra open for the goal. Weston Ranch went on to win the game on a penalty kick to secure the VOL title.
“We didn’t have a good first half. We played much better in the second half, but on the penalty kick, the ball just went right through the fingertips of (goalie) Derek (Martinez). I feel like we had a real chance,” varsity coach Alfredo Quiroga commented about the loss.
With second place well in hand Oakdale visited Central Catholic of Modesto on Wednesday, Oct. 29. The Mustangs struck early and often to cruise to the victory and into the playoffs.
“Be ready, and play like it’s just another game. We have overcome so much this season, injuries and other distractions that I think we can overcome anything that presents itself,” said Becerra, sharing his advice to his teammates upon entering the playoffs. Becerra has played all four seasons on the varsity team. Oakdale’s first round playoff opponent was not known at press time.