With playoffs looming, the Oakdale Mustangs varsity boys soccer team needed to make a big push this week. The team entered the week in third place in the Valley Oak League standings. Oakdale hosted Central Catholic and then went on the road to face the Buffaloes of Manteca in a crucial VOL showdown. The Mustangs stood tall and answered the challenge by blanking the Raiders 9-0 and earning a tough 5-2 road victory in Manteca, winning both games for the week.
On Monday, Oct. 6 the Mustangs hosted the winless Central Catholic Raiders. Oakdale leaped out to an early 1-0 lead as senior Jose Becerra found the back of the net. This set the stage for Becerra’s big offensive night, as he scored the team’s final three goals, and four total, in the blowout win. Becerra wasn’t the only one having a big offensive night, as junior Zac Barnum added three goals, while Manual Aguilar and Juan Rangel added a goal each. Mustangs junior goalkeeper Derek Martinez made three saves in the team’s home shutout.
“The boys played very well. Central Catholic is a rebuilding program and are new to the league, but they’re just as dangerous as anyone in the league, and our boys played very well,” said varsity head coach Alfredo Quiroga.
After a great home game, the team was faced with a tall task as they traveled to take on the second place Buffaloes. Earlier in the season, Manteca edged out a 3-2 victory over the Mustangs in Oakdale. The Mustangs looked to return the favor and did so by finding the net early. Oakdale scored three goals in the first half to take a 3-1 lead. The Mustangs tacked on two more goals to put the Buffaloes away in the second half. Martinez stopped the Buffaloes’ high powered offense as he made five saves in the game.
“He is a true goalie. We are very fortunate to have him in between the posts,” noted Quiroga.
Becerra led the way for Oakdale as he added two goals in the win, bringing his weekly total to six goals.
“He is very talented, an excellent ball handler. He has played since his freshman year and his talent grows with every game,” Quiroga said of the midfielder.
With the pair of league victories, Oakdale improved to 11-4-3 overall and 6-2 in league play and currently sit in second place in the VOL standings. Oakdale has six games remaining on their schedule, with four of them on the road, including a clash against current first place Weston Ranch.
Oakdale’s final stretch for the playoffs began on Monday, Oct. 13 when they hosted the Lathrop Spartans, after The Leader’s press time. Oakdale will take the road for two contests against Sierra on Wednesday, Oct. 15 and will travel to Manteca to face the Lancers of East Union on Monday, Oct. 20.