It’s scrimmage time in the Oakdale High pool and stellar center defender on the varsity girls water polo team, Jenny Siemsen, is baffling the Mustangs’ varsity boys goal scorers just two meters from the goal.
The scene at the new Oakdale Aquatic Center — as described by boys head coach Alan Stender — is certainly no slap in the face to the Mustang boys.
Siemsen is simply that good, and Oakdale’s joint-growth philosophy only showcases that fact as both undefeated-in-conference programs continue to prepare for a deep run at the Division II Sac-Joaquin Section postseason.
“We sometimes scrimmage together and we work out together because we are all one program,” Stender said. “The girls get a lot out of being able to keep up or play with the boys, who conversely don’t want to be shown up by girls. So they work extra hard to be on top of their game, too.”
Oakdale has been on top of its game since Sept. 15 wins over Sonora to open action in the Valley Foothill League. Both teams have gone on a 7-0 tear from that point, with big tournament honors along the way.
The Oakdale girls were 10th among 66 teams at the highly regarded Western States Invitational last weekend. They lost a key match to Castilleja (third place), a team coached by three-time U.S. Olympian, Brenda Villa.
The winning team at the Western States was Monte Vista, whose attacking goal scorer, Maggie Steffens, is the youngest player on the United States National women’s water polo team.
With Monte Vista and Castilleja joining the action in seven pools (three for frosh-soph) across the Central Valley, it was certainly a tournament of some special consideration for the Oakdale coaching staff.
“This is the best girls water polo tournament on the west coast,” Stender said. “We saw a girl that will be playing in the next Olympics.”
Oakdale was fresh off a complete program sweep of Sonora on Oct. 11. The varsity boys saw a 12-4 win after three scores each by Neal Cadra and Jeremy Neathery. Braden Lee and Brandon Terwilliger scored two apiece while Casey Whitley and Brett Taylor nabbed one goal each. Michael Tripp, who has had a terrific season to replace former all-section and current MJC goalkeeper, Garret Porter, pulled down seven saves in the win.
The varsity girls landed an 11-1 blowout after three goals from both Savannah Stender and Cassie Lee. Monica Rojas scored twice while Siemsen, Jessica Myers and Lauren Judd also found the net. Morgan Kinyon kept up the superb net play she has shown throughout the year with five saves in the one-sided affair.
Oakdale’s frosh-soph girls snagged a 4-3 win in overtime while the frosh-soph boys won easy in an 11-3 score.
The Oakdale varsity boys take on the Delong Tournament on Friday and Saturday, before a host match with Los Banos on Monday. The boys and girls also square off at Central Catholic today, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m.
“The mood right now is players happy with their success, but very tired,” coach Stender said. “But they know that success comes through effort and hard work, and that’s just what it’s going to take to improve upon what we have already done.”