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U19 Girls Start Competitive Soccer Season Strong
Oakdale goalie Melissa Ibarra, center, gets pushed down by the Merced player, 66, as the Insanity defense looks to catch up to the ball during Sunday afternoon action in Turlock. Merced won the championship with a 4-2 victory; the Insanity U19 girls were second in the tournament. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Leader

Four games over two days and a battle for top honors added up to an exciting weekend of soccer.

Oakdale United Insanity U19 girls, including players from Oakdale, Escalon, Riverbank and Modesto, suited up for their first competitive soccer games of the new season, traveling to the Mid Summer Classic in Turlock on July 19 and 20.

They ended the round robin tournament with second place medals, winning two, tying one and losing one, falling only to tournament champion Merced in a bitter battle.

The tournament for the U19 age bracket featured Elk Grove Elite, Modesto Ajax United Elite, Fresno Metro United and Merced United along with the Oakdale Insanity.

Game one on Saturday saw the Oakdale team score midway through the first half, Danae Rose notching the squad’s first goal of the season and her first of 10 for the weekend. They added another tally in the second half, the goal by Denise Thompson, while keeping Elk Grove off the board, winning 2-0. Jaylyne Serpa and Ally Jackson had assists. Saturday afternoon they took on Fresno and scored early and often, putting up a huge 9-1 victory. Rose tallied five goals in that game alone, with goals also coming from Jackie Valeriano, Bianka Ibarra, Logan Laugero and Patty Jacobo. Getting assists were Laugero, Valeriano, Helena Hoover, Jacobo (2), Bianka Ibarra, Kennedy Codromac, Rose and Thompson.

Sunday morning the squad faced off with the Ajax United and fell behind 1-0, coming back with a goal four minutes later to knot the game at 1-1. Second half action saw the Ajax strike in the first two minutes, going up 2-1, with the Insanity rallying late for the tying score. Rose had the goals, assists were by Thompson, Laugero and Valeriano.

The round robin tournament format and points total meant the Oakdale game with Merced on Sunday afternoon would determine the tourney winner and the hard-fought contest saw injuries, a red card, an ejection and the Insanity squad suffering a tough 4-2 loss.

Oakdale keeper Melissa Ibarra took a hard shot from a Merced player while attempting a save, clotheslined to the ground, while midfielder Serpa suffered a solid elbow to the mouth late in the contest, forcing her to leave the game.

Valeriano put the Insanity ahead 1-0 to start the contest, just 30 seconds in, with Merced tying it up at the 10-minute mark. Two minutes later, Merced regained the lead, but Serpa set up Rose to tie the game at 2-2.

A late first half penalty kick put Merced up 3-2 and they added a fourth goal late in the second half. The Insanity at that point had lost a defender to a red card, frustration setting in by what players and spectators saw as several non-calls by the officials – including the plays that left Ibarra and Serpa bruised and bloodied. One parent was also ejected from the field and the Insanity battled but fell short, with Merced going on to post a 4-0 mark and take first place with 37 total points. Oakdale finished second with 24 with a 2-1-1 record, followed by third place Elk Grove with 19, fourth place Ajax with 16 and Fresno Metro in fifth place with two points.

Coach Brian Orr said he is pleased with the returning players and the addition of several newcomers, as they bring plenty of skills to the pitch, and have meshed well with the other team members.

“All of the girls played hard the entire weekend,” Orr noted. “I was very proud of their teamwork and determination.”

The girls are scheduled to play next in the Dublin Tournament, Aug. 9 and 10.