His team won all three of its matches Saturday on day two of the DeLong Memorial tournament, but Oakdale boys water polo coach Alan Stender could only ponder what might have been had his Mustangs taken care of business Friday against Ponderosa.
"We had a chance to be in the top one-through-eight group if we had just gotten past Ponderosa," said Stender, whose team lost to the Shingle Springs-based Bruins 8-3 a day earlier. "We probably could have beaten two or three teams in the top eight. To get there, though, you have to get past Ponderosa. They're a good team. They were last year's D-II section champion, so hats off to them.
"We didn't play well yesterday, but we played well today."
Granite Bay beat Newberg of Oregon 10-7 to win the championship of the 32-team tourney.
Oakdale secured a ninth-place finish thanks to a 12-5 win over Pitman in the final match of the day at Johansen High. Robby Earle and Chris Terwilliger led Oakdale with three goals apiece. Goalie Garrett Porter had 10 saves.
"The key is holding people to four and five goals," said Stender. "We're playing really great defense."
Pitman's Ian Roos had four goals.
Sonora finished fourth after dropping two of three matches on Saturday at Pitman High.
The Wildcats got seven goals from Josh Martin in a 10-3 win over Marin Catholic, but lost Martin to injury in a 7-1 loss to Newberg, then fell to Del Oro, 11-6, in the third-place game.
"We basically ran out of gas," Sonora coach Matt Personius said. "Overall, I was fairly happy with how we did. We've had a better showing here year after year, and we fared well against area teams, too, so I felt good about that."
Oakdale opened with a 10-9 victory over Turlock behind four goals from Earle and three from Terwilliger. Taylor Sellers had three goals for Turlock.
The Mustangs were also 12-4 winners over Buhach Colony on the strength of four Terwilliger goals.
Turlock rebounded by beating Clovis North, 13-8, behind five Sellers goals, then topped a Visalia-based Golden West team — coached by Turlock alum Rick Nordell — 10-3. Sellers had three more goals.
"Sellers turned us around after the morning-game loss," Turlock coach Steve Feaver said.
Johansen pinned a 5-3 loss on Liberty, led by Kyle Sessa's two goals, to start the day before suffering a 9-5 loss to Pitman that featured four more Sessa goals.
Johansen, getting four goals from Phipps, closed with an 11-9 win over Buhach Colony.
"It was a good tournament. A lot of the scores were fairly close and the competition level was very good," Johansen coach Brent Bohlender said.