Menlo's bid at upending the 18th ranked team in the nation went by the books this afternoon, as the Oaks (2-1-2) were unable to shake two early goals in a 3-1 loss to Biola University (4-2-1). The match snaps an unbeaten string of 15 straight regular season affairs, dating back over a calendar year to September 10, 2011 (5-2 loss to Fresno Pacific) to find the last time Menlo did not come away with either a win or a draw in a regular season contest.
The Eagles converted on two first half corner kicks within a span of just six minutes between the 25th and 31st minute to take the commanding 2-0 advantage. First it was Joao Toscan who found the back of the net, before Carlos Ballesteros did the honors to put Menlo in the early 2-0 hole. Both scores were assisted by senior midfielder Tony Montalvo.
The Oaks 2-0 deficit would stand into the break, but Menlo seized the early second half momentum with a goal to chop the Biola lead down to one. Junior Andrew Cota picked up his team leading fourth goal of the season only 7:43 into the second stanza after initially hitting the cross bar on his first attempt. The native of Santa Clara never gave up on the play, finding a way to ricochet the rebound past Eagles' keeper Joshua Crichton.
Menlo kept the pressure on in searching for the equalizing score, but a late Biola goal by freshman John Hanscom added the Eagles all the insurance they needed in picking up their fourth win of the year. The midfielder took a beautiful cross from junior Daniel Chew, who was credited with the assist on the play.
Oaks goalkeeper Alex Palomarez allowed three goals and made seven saves on the day, while the aforementioned Crichton halted five of the six shots that came his way. Biola outshot Menlo 11-9, including a 10-6 advantage in the shots on goal department.
The Oaks will have just two days to digest their first loss of 2012, as they travel to NCAA Division III UC Santa Cruz on Tuesday, September 25th for a matchup with the Banana Slugs. Kickoff is slated for 4:00pm.