Oakdale soccer leaves visiting Center in its wake

OAKDALE -- When training began for the 2007 boys' soccer season at Oakdale High School, coach Alfredo Quiroga greeted his troops with a new rule: no wakeboarding in season.

It was in place because goalkeeper Michael Glaeser, then a backup, broke his foot riding a board at New Melones Reservoir and missed most of last season. Glaeser has stayed off the water this fall, and on Tuesday he proved why the rule needed to be in place.

The senior made two very difficult stops in the first half of the Mustangs' Division IV playoff opener against Center of Antelope, then watched his teammates twice find the net in the second half for a 2-0 victory.

It was an important win for Oakdale, a program that won three consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division III titles from 2003-05 before suffering a first-round upset in last year's playoffs.

"We made it through the butterflies today," said Quiroga, whose team improved to 18-7-4. "A lot of these guys are untested, but we're coming together. We don't have a superstar like in the past, and we haven't played in 10 days so it took a little time to get our rhythm."

Center (11-7-2) had the better scoring opportunities in the first half. The first came in the 25th minute when Glaeser had to stretch to deflect a high, twisting drive over the bar. The second was in the final minute of the half, when Glaeser had to guess correctly to stuff a low drive from point-blank range to save a scoreless first half.

"I didn't see a whole lot from us in the first half, except that our team was staying together and were keeping to our game plan," Glaeser said.

The Mustangs broke through in the first minute of the second half when leading scorer Robert Gilbert took a short pass from Jose Mosqueda in the right side of the box and slid a ground ball in front of Center goalkeeper Matt Lovell and into the left side of the net.

The 1-0 margin stood up until the 74th minute, when Gilbert finessed a chest pass toward Luis Cisneros, who took the ball on a half-volley and drilled it past Lovell from 32 yards. Gilbert now had 15 goals and seven assists this season.

"We're just trying to prove that even though we don't have the all-stars we can still produce," said Glaeser, who recorded his eighth shutout.

"All season long, he was getting those minutes he couldn't get last year, and today was probably the best game he's played," Quiroga said.

The shutout should do wonders for the confidence of the Mustangs, many of whom saw little playing time last year, as they head into the second round.

"A lot of these guys are untested," Quiroga said. "We only played in one playoff game last year and we had a lot of seniors on last year's team, so these guys didn't have the opportunity to get their feet wet."

That is, they got their feet wet in a way that didn't violate team rules.