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Varsity Soccer Boys Lose To Bulldogs In First Round
Senior Dayne Sturtevant, 23, chases down the ball against Ceres in opening round playoff action. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER
Juan Mata, 10, kicks the ball down field for Oakdale in an opening round playoff game at Ceres. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

It was a short postseason for the Oakdale High School boys soccer team. In the first round of the 2019 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, the Mustangs were blanked by host Ceres, 2-0.

Oakdale, the No. 15 seed, fell to the No. 2 seeded Bulldogs at Ceres High School on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The game took place on the school’s football field.

“Having the game on a football field made it difficult for us. They are used to playing on such a large field and took advantage of their opportunities on it,” said Oakdale head coach Alfredo Quiroga.

On a cold night, the game was very physical and seemed to get away from the officials. Both Ceres goals came as a result of throw-ins. The first goal came with 12:03 remaining in the first half, one that rolled slowly into the goal and past goalkeeper Kevin Camelin.

“It was a difficult first half for us, we could not keep up with them (Ceres) and they executed on their opportunities with throw-ins,” Quiroga noted. “At the half I told the team ‘Try to limit the throw-ins’ because that is what got us in trouble.”

In the 19th minute of the second half, Ceres doubled their lead to 2-0 on another slow rolling ball and past Daniel Dubiel, who came in as goalkeeper in the second half.

Oakdale’s frustration had built up as the game continued when fouls were called against them and yellow cards were issued, including a warning against the Mustang crowd, with many of those in attendance shouting towards the officials.

“I don’t factor in the officials as any reason we lost, just like I would not if we had won. They make judgment calls and some were valid and others were not,” said Quiroga.

To add to their frustration, Oakdale had an opportunity to get on the board on an Eric Anaya penalty kick that hit the crossbar and Miguel Casillas overshot an empty net with less than eight minutes to play.

“In the second half we had opportunities but did not cash those in, it was tough to watch,” the coach admitted.

The Mustangs had a tough start to their season with the air quality delaying their preseason and they struggled early in the regular season as well but battled for a spot in the playoffs.