On Sept. 2 and 3, Oakdale High’s varsity girls water polo team landed a sixth place finish at the highly touted Central Valley Showdown in Clovis, while Oakdale’s boys soccer team landed runner-up honors at the competitive Gregori Tournament.
With some of the best teams in California pressuring for wins, Oakdale went 3-2 to repeat their sixth place finish at the same tourney a season ago.
“This was a good tournament in terms of the experience we gained,” Oakdale coach Diane Kline said. “We were able to try out a lot of new plays and defenses.”
Oakdale beat Casa Roble in an 8-1 landslide to open tourney action and upended Tokay 11-6. The team fell to Clovis in a 6-3 match before reaching the fifth place game on an 8-3 dismantling of El Diamante. The team fell in a tight 3-2 loss to Porterville to close tourney action. Senior Savannah Stender led all players with 15 of the Mustangs’ 32 total scores during tourney play. Her freshman sister, Shelby Stender, scored seven goals while Cassie Lee tallied five, Jennie Siemsen and Katie Vanderburg each chipped in two scores while Megan Tackett found the net once.
Coach Kline said junior goalkeeper Hayley Bensen played great in the net to limit opposing scores.
Another rush of injuries forced Oakdale’s soccer team to play with as few as 10 players during the Gregori Tournament, but the Mustangs still rallied to a 2-1-1 finish with second place honors after a 6-1 loss to Golden Valley in the championship game on Saturday.
“Taking the number of players we competed with into account, it was a very good weekend for us,” Oakdale coach Alfredo Quiroga said. “I am very proud of the players.”
Oakdale (4-3-2) opened tournament play with a 4-0 victory over Hughson after a score each from Sergio Gutierrez, Johnny Torres, Oskar Nilsson and Javier Aguiniga.
Aguiniga also scored in a 1-0 win over host Gregori the same day, and watched both Torres and Gutierrez tally goals in a 2-2 tie with Davis. Gutierrez was the only Mustang to score in the tourney finale against Golden Valley.
“We had played so hard throughout the tournament, and I don’t think we had any left to offer Golden Valley,” coach Quiroga said. “I lost two players to red cards for the rest of the tournament and lost (defender Sean Harrity and midfielder Davis Harper) to injury.
Quiroga said he expects all his injured players to return to the lineup soon. Standout goaltender Scotty McNeil (hamstring) made his return to the lineup and made 15 big saves during tourney action.
“I think we will come out of the preseason confident and with some momentum,” Quiroga said. “Hopefully we will recover all the players that are injured and keep the other ones healthy when we go into league.”