Menlo kicked off their two-match southern California road swing in stellar fashion, staving off a late La Sierra (4-7) rally to hold on for a 3-2 victory amidst sweltering heat down in Riverside. Menlo seemingly appeared to be well in control with a three score lead entering the tilt's final ten minutes, but credit the Golden Eagles who fought hard up until the end, applying late pressure with two goals. The win pushes the Oaks overall record to 3-1-3.
Two Andrew Cota scores set the pace for Menlo, as the native of Santa Clara found the back of the net in each half to extend his Oaks scoring lead to six goals on the year. Cota's first net finder opened the scoring late in the first stanza, after freshman Nicholas Krahnke set up the talented midfielder in the 40th minute.
Cota's second score extended Menlo's lead to 3-0 late in the affair, with junior Christian Abrego credited with his first assist of the season, in the 78th minute of play. Sandwiched in between the two Cota goals was an Alex Vukic heat seeker into the back of the net, coming in the 68th minute. Vukic received a pass from sophomore Giuseppe Frattaroli, and then found himself one-on-one with La Sierra keeper Wade Dixon, before putting it into the bottom right corner. The goal was Vukic's third of the 2012 campaign.
Dixon would finish his afternoon with two goals allowed and four saves made in just about 75 minutes of action, with the Golden Eagles calling on Peter Martinez, who surrendered one goal and recorded one save in 15 minutes between the pipes.
On the opposite side of the equation, Menlo's Alex Palomarez was perfect for 81:46, before allowing a Joel Hernandez unassisted goal in the 82nd minute, and then an own goal in the final minute of the match. Palomarez totaled four saves on the day.
The Oaks "W" proved to be thanks in part to key contributions from top to bottom, in what was a blistering sun soaked afternoon in southern California. "Overall it was a great team effort in extremely hot temperatures," said third year Menlo Head Coach Mike Keller. "Lots of guys off the bench gave us a great shot in the arm. [Eric] Tilbury and Carlos Ramirez stepped up, and [Diego] Navas and [Andrew] Nyberg got their first action and did well for us."
Menlo will look to make it a perfect 2-for-2 in the down south road trip, as the Oaks travel to Soka University on Sunday, September 30th. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00pm.