The Lady Oaks put their undefeated conference record and six-match win streak on the line Thursday evening, squaring up against Simpson University in a critical Cal Pac clash up in Redding. Down two sets to one, it looked as if Menlo's perfect conference run was in danger, but a calm, cool, and collected Oaks squad battled back to take the match and stay unbeaten in the Cal Pac with a 17-25, 25-13, 20-25, 25-21, 15-11 victory. With the dramatic come from behind win, Menlo moves to 5-0 in conference, 10-6 overall, and keeps their now seven-match win streak intact.
The Lady Oaks resiliency was not only put to the test after the squad got down two sets to one, but also after Menlo dropped the first game 25-17. The Oaks would come roaring back with a 25-13 set two win to even up the match score at one a piece.
Credit the Red Hawks who came right back to capture the third game, 25-20, receiving strong play from senior Kirsten Duren and junior Crystal Nybo. Duren ended her evening tied for the match lead with 14 kills, chipping in with 21 digs as well, while Nybo had eight clutch kills with a match high .353 hitting percentage.
Facing elimination in the all-important fourth set, Menlo seized control of the game after the score was deadlocked 16-16. Thanks to the stellar play of sophomore tandem Courtney Calicdan and Bayley Blackney, the Oaks put together a 9-5 run to close out the set and knot the match score at 2-2. Calicdan smacked five key kills in set's final crucial stretch, while a Blackney kill pushed Menlo to 25, capping off a long and pressure packed final point rally.
Calicdan would go on to finish the match with 14 kills, deadlocking the outside hitter from Honolulu with the aforementioned Kirsten Duren and Menlo's Nicole Yap for the match lead. Blackney wrapped things up with seven kills and an impressive .333 hitting percentage.
The Lady Oaks carried their momentum from the fourth set right into the fifth, in a 15-11 final game victory. Up 11-10 late, Menlo took four of the next five points to grab the set and the match. Three Simpson errors, mixed in with a Blackney kill did the trick in the Oaks concluding push to the finish line.
Not to be lost in all the action was the stellar showing from Menlo's Mika Mendoza, who finished with a match high 28 digs. Senior Angie Larsen led the Lady Oaks with 17 assists, trailing only the Red Hawks' Kelly Tycksen for the match lead with 28. Tycksen also led her team with 25 digs.
Menlo closes out their critical two-match road trip on Friday, October 12th, as the Oaks travel to Rocklin to take on the Warriors of William Jessup. First serve is scheduled for 7:00pm.