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Varsity soccer girls shut out in Section title game
Lady Mustang Mia Peterson waits for the ball to drop to her feet as she gets ready to make a rush up the field. Oakdale and Rio Americano did battle in the Division 3 Section title game on Thursday, Feb. 22 with Rio taking a 1-0 win and the blue banner. Jeff Kettering/The Leader

It was a difficult night for the Oakdale High School varsity girls soccer team. The second seeded Mustangs fell to the fourth seed, Rio Americano, in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 Championship on Thursday, Feb. 22. In the 74th minute of the contest Rio Americano scored a goal and held on to win the match 1-0.

The Oakdale team had gotten an early afternoon sendoff from the school, with an Oakdale Police Department cruiser in front, followed by the school bus, and a fire engine bringing up the rear. Signs of support were taped to the bus and a crowd of well-wishers gathered on the front lawn of the school to cheer the team on as the bus rolled past on the way out of town for the contest.

Miley McNamee tallied the lone goal in the game for Rio Americano, coming on an assist from Avery Popejoy, getting the shot past Oakdale’s junior netminder Avery Alves.

OHS head coach Kico Monares said it was a team defeat, the Lady Mustangs just not able to find the back of the net.

“It was tough, but I feel like we were prepared. The girls played very well and we went into the game with a specific plan in place,” Monares noted. “Unfortunately, we just could not get anything going offensively. Alves played very well for us.”

Coach Monares said the team’s gameplan was to capitalize on corner kicks and throw ins.

“We wanted to surround our strategy around our defense. Rio (Americano) is a very good team and program. We knew heading into the tournament that playing Sacramento schools that it is different than playing league games,” the coach explained. “Our league is tough but when you play teams from another league or conference it is a challenge.”

Oakdale’s season was a memorable one, however. The team claimed the Valley Oak League championship and had 17 returning players, including eight seniors.

“This is a special team. In only my second season with Oakdale, I am blessed to have had these players. They worked hard, they worked as a team,” Monares said. “The things that they have accomplished is a testament to where this program is heading. It sets an example, a high standard for the program moving forward.”

Oakdale qualified for the 2024 CIF NorCal Girls Soccer Championship, Division III. The Mustangs traveled to San Fransico to clash with the University Red Devils in the opening round.

A crowd of parents, family, friends and school personnel gathered with signs to send the varsity soccer girls off on the road to the Section title game on Thursday, Feb. 22. It was a tough outing, though, as Oakdale took a 1-0 loss to Rio Americano. Marg Jackson/The Leader
Oakdale junior goalkeeper Avery Alves gets high above the crowd to block the shot by Rio Americano in Thursday, Feb. 22 action. The varsity Lady Mustangs, however, couldn’t get any traction offensively and were shut out in the Section final contest, 1-0. Jeff Kettering/The Leader