ROSEVILLE -- celeste Brown and the Rio Americano girls water polo team refused to let Shelby Stender beat them.
So Brown clung to Stender like a winter coat, hounding the Mustangs' sophomore center throughout Saturday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 championship at Woodcreek High.
With Stender neutralized, Oakdale was held scoreless for the first three periods en route to a 7-3 loss.
Cassie Lee, Emily Stolken and Katie Vanderberg scored fourth-period goals for Oakdale (23-6), which took solace in making its second consecutive D2 final. Hayley Benson had eight saves in the loss, Oakdale's third straight to Rio Americano.
"To be there twice in a row was a big accomplishment," Oakdale coach Diane Kline said. "As hard as it is to walk away with a loss, I'm proud of what they accomplished."
Rio Americano scored twice in the first period and three more times in the third, but its lead was more a testament to its defense than its offense.
Oakdale was 0-for-5 in man-up situations through the first three periods, and rare was the possession that Stender wasn't harassed or denied by Brown.
"We couldn't get anything going on offense. It was a struggle the entire game," Kline said. "We had trouble working the ball to our center, Shelby. She is our biggest offensive threat and we had a hard time adjusting."