After an 0-2 San Diego road trip to begin the 2011 season, the Lady Oaks finally made their much anticipated home debut in front of a raucous crowd at the friendly confines of Wunderlich Field. Menlo had the tall task of taking on a tough Fresno Pacific team that entered the contest 2-1 on the year and although they played valiant throughout, the Oaks came out on the losing end by a final of 2-0. "I was proud of the way we competed," claimed Menlo Head Coach Scott Myers on his team's showing. "We never gave up against a good level team like Fresno Pacific."
The game's first 35 minutes featured a combination of strong goal tending by both clubs as well as a few missed opportunities on the attack, keeping both teams off the board at 0-0. In the 20th minute the Sunbirds' lethal combination of juniors Jae Slocum and Demi Hamilton had the first big chance of the afternoon, but Slocum's shot from in close hit the cross bar which was quickly followed by an errant Hamilton blast that let out a huge sigh of relief from the Lady Oaks' faithful. As far as Menlo is concerned, freshmen Steffany Dudley and Elanna Arceo gave their squad hope for the first home score of the season, but a couple of early saves by Sunbirds' starting goal keeper Sarah King kept the game deadlocked at zero.
Then in the 36th minute Fresno Pacific broke the scoreless tie on a brilliant shot from sophomore Sara Vega that found the back of the net to give the Sunbirds the 1-0 advantage. For the native of Visalia, CA it was her first score of the 2011 campaign while sophomore mid-fielder Jessica Castillo was credited with her first assist of the year. The slim 1-0 lead would hold up as both teams went into the locker room.
In the second stanza Fresno Pacific seemed to come out firing on all cylinders on their way to outshooting the Lady Oaks 11-1 in the frame. The Sunbirds would add a second goal late in the half on a missile from deep by senior mid-fielder Natalie Chaney, pushing the lead to 2-0. The two goal advantage was in good hands as the Fresno Pacific goal keeper tandem of sophomore Sarah King and senior Catherine Michaelis combined for a shutout while stopping all five shots that came their way in the 2-0 "W."
With the loss the Lady Oaks are still looking to pencil their name in the win column as they currently sit at 0-3. For the second year Head Coach Myers, there are definite things to take away from today's defeat. "When you play a strong team like Fresno Pacific it really shows us what we need to work on. We have an incredible level of fitness and a high level of intelligence, we are going to continue to plug away at the little things and be ready to go for next week."
Next week will be a busy one for Menlo's girls in blue with four games looming over a six day span. The first of these six is set for this Monday, September 12th against Hope International at Wunderlich Field. Kickoff is slated for 1:00pm.