Vikings stumble in section semifinals as postseason run concludes

By: Steven Wilson,
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One of Oakmont High’s most memorable wins of the season was followed with one of their toughest losses. 

The Vikings — CVC Champions and the No. 2 seed in the section playoffs — put together a complete performance to topple No. 7 seed Napa High last Friday in the pool at Sierra College to advance to the semifinals of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. 

But the momentum gained from that big win didn’t carry the girls to a victory over No. 2 seeded Del Oro Wednesday in the semifinals in Lodi. The Golden Eagles tallied a dozen goals and shut down Oakmont’s powerful offense in a 12-3 decision. 

With the win, Del Oro advances to the section title game Saturday at the Roseville Aquatics Complex, while Oakmont heads home and approaches the offseason. The loss capped a productive 2016 for the Vikings, who were outright league champions for the first time under head coach Casey Cornilsen. The team also earned its first section playoff win in five years after beating Napa High last Friday, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. 

“We were lucky to get a great seed going into the tournament, and even though we didn’t know much about Napa coming in, we just had to play Oakmont water polo for four quarters,” Cornilsen explained. “We had a great week of practice and came in ready to play.”

Thanks to one of Jade Osiow’s best performances in the cage this year, Oakmont held Napa High to just two goals and Osiow registered an eye-popping 16 saves. 

“She kept us in the game and allowed us to get that victory,” Cornilsen added.

Oakmont’s Morgan Jones led all scorers with two goals, including one on a counter attack with just 20 seconds left in the first half and another in the third period. Napa High’s Meena Khan helped her team get on the board early in the second half as she found the net and tied the game, 1-1, but Jones responded with the go-ahead goal to give her team a 2-1 advantage with three minutes left in the third period. Oakmont’s Sammy Ford added a third goal late in the game before Napa answered.

The one-goal win put the 2016 Vikings squad in the record books and set a new mark for future teams to strive toward.