ROCKLIN -- The Oakdale girls water polo program is headed back to Woodcreek High School, the site of the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division 2 championships.
Waiting for the Mustangs on Saturday will be a familiar opponent.
Oakdale punched its ticket on Thursday afternoon with a down-to-wire finish, a 6-5 victory over Vintage.
Shelby Stender scored the game-winning goal with 1:04 left in the match and Oakdale weathered a final-seconds flurry by Vintage to advance to its second consecutive D2 final.
There, the Mustangs will face Rio Americano. Ball drops at 11:30 a.m.
"Our goal was to get back to this game," said Oakdale coach Diane Kline, whose team lost to Del Oro in the 2011 championship, 10-7.
"We put in a lot of extra work this season and its paid off in the last few games. We didn't have our best game today, but we worked through some early problems to pull out the win."
Oakdale and Rio Americano have met three times in the last calendar year, with the first meeting coming in the semifinal round of last year's tournament.
The Mustangs beat Rio Americano in overtime, 4-2. Rio Americano has swept both meetings this season.
"We have a game plan," Kline said. "We were hoping we'd get a chance to play them again."
A fourth date was never promised, even as Oakdale built a 3-1 halftime lead on Thursday afternoon.
Emily Stolken scored both of her goals in the first half and Cassie Lee added another as the Mustangs tilted the odds in their favor.
Vintage narrowed the gap in the second half, using Oakdale's turnovers to fuel its counterattack.
Just moments into the fourth quarter, Oakdale's two-goal lead had vanished. But with the match tied 5-5 and little time left on the clock, the Mustangs bunkered down.
Stender's only goal made it 6-5, and then the defense held off Vintage's man-up attack in the final seconds.
"It was about working together as a team; getting back into a more positive mindset and no letting them get back into the game," Kline said. "It was about closing out."