Play of the Game:Erika Savela scores the game winner with 11:27 left in the match.
The Lady Oaks capped off a sterling first day of the 2nd Annual Menlo Invitational, with two second half Erika Savela scores propelling the Oaks to a dramatic 2-1 victory in the tripleheader finale. Menlo's thrilling win equals the Lady Oaks "W" total from a year ago, as the squad now boasts an overall record of 5-2. Westmont College flexed their muscles in the day's opening affair with a 4-1 victory over Southern Oregon, and then Florida's St. Thomas University squeaked out in a barn burner in the afternoon's middle game, taking it by a final of 1-0 with a goal in the final ten minutes.
The Oaks and Mariners would go on to save the best for last, with Menlo turning around a second half 1-0 deficit. The aforementioned Erika Savela jump started the Lady Oaks offense with her fifth goal of the season, just over seven minutes into the second stanza. The unassisted, game tying score would prove to be just the beginning for the senior from Stockholm, Sweden.
Fast forward to the 78th minute and Savela was at it again. Playing the role of Menlo hero, the tenacious midfielder received the rock from junior Natalie Ingram and took care of the rest with her second goal of the match. Ingram was credited with the assist to push her Oaks' leading point total to 15, while Savela's two snipes give her five scores and 14 total points.
"I was really happy with Erika, she played really well," said third year Menlo Head Coach Scott Myers. "She did what she's been asked to in carry the ball and be successful. She continues to really put pressure on other team's back lines."
Menlo's stingy defense led by junior goalkeeper Whitney Galindo and sophomore defender Kayla Cisneroz played big in making the slim 2-1 margin stick. Galindo halted four of five shots that came her way while Cisneroz came up huge in preventing a number of late Mariner chances.
Marymount netted the match's first score after Andrea Faerber found the back of the net in the 24th minute. The freshman forward has previously missed on three legitimate opportunities in the early stages of the first period, but ultimately the fourth time did the trick for her second goal of the 2012 campaign.
After the match, an upbeat Scott Myers was enthusiastic about the way his squad performed. "First and foremost you have to give credit to Marymount for playing their game and their style of play," commented Myers. "Our girls definitely played hard. We had a lot of good opportunities, and I'd like to see us finish some more of those opportunities, but we fought through it and I'm very happy to get the result. We have now equaled our win total of last year so it's all about moving forward and keeping ourselves in the driver's seat."
Shifting to the day's earlier games, Westmont College used late goals from Kaitlynn Durham and Ashley Correa to push a 2-1 advantage into a 4-1 victory over Southern Oregon. Correa finished the tilt with two goals and an assist, while teammate Aolani Rueff wasn't too shabby in her own right with a goal and an assist.
The day's second affair featured only one score yet didn't lack in the drama department. With just a shade over seven minutes remaining in the match, St. Thomas University took out William Jessup with a game-winning goal from sophomore midfielder Sarrah Granda.
The tournament will resume tomorrow (Sat. Sep. 15) with an "all-Warriors" matchup, pinning Westmont against William Jessup. Menlo will be back on the Wunderlich Field pitch on Sunday afternoon, playing the second match of the day against Southern Oregon. Marymount and St. Thomas will kick off the action early in the day with a tilt set to begin at 12:00pm.