Santa Cruz, CA:
Two overtimes, 26 total shots, and 15 combined cards, but in the end zero goals in Menlo's thrilling 0-0 draw on the road against a tough UC Santa Cruz squad that came in with a record of 6-2 on the year. The tie was the Oaks third of the season as their overall mark moves to 2-1-3.
"Our guys showed a lot of team spirit and leadership out there," said third year Menlo Head Mike Keller on his team's gritty effort. "It was a battle this afternoon to say the least, but we responded to adversity and left it all out on the field for 110 minutes today."
It was an Oaks group effort in keeping the Banana Slugs off the board through regulation and beyond the two ten-minute extra periods. Senior goalkeeper Alex Palomarez made six saves in the draw, including four in the second half, while Menlo emptied its bench in an attempt to produce the affair's only score. Ultimately the team's depth and gutty showing from top to bottom didn't go unnoticed by the aforementioned Coach Keller.
"The guys off the bench played great," commented Keller. "They gave us a huge boost, playing in pressure moments throughout."
The Oaks got off one shot in the first overtime, while UC Santa Cruz responded with two in the second extra frame. All three attempts did not require a save by either keeper, with the Banana Slugs' Nate Levinson making all three of his halts in the second stanza.
From an offensive perspective, Menlo's Andrew Cota led the charge in the shots department with five total, including two on point. Senior forward Alika Okamitsu and junior forward Peter Shelling topped out Santa Cruz's offense with three shots each, with only Okamitsu ripping one on goal.
The heated affair tallied up 48 total fouls and of the 15 cards, three were red.
The Oaks will head south for the weekend with matchups set for Friday, September 28th at La Sierra University (Riverside), and Sunday September 30th at Soka University (Aliso Viejo). Friday's kickoff is set for 2:00pm.