COSTA MESA, Calif. – Menlo College Women's Volleyball wrapped up a two-match trip to Southern California against Vanguard University on Saturday afternoon. After losing the opening match of the trip on Friday, Menlo had high hopes of taking down another GSAC rival and salvaging a split on the trip. The Lions showed up ready to play and were able to take down the Oaks in four very competitive sets to earn the win. Vanguard is only 5-6 but a perfect 3-0 in GSAC play while Menlo is 10-5 and 1-2 in conference action.
The Oaks have been so competitive this season that nearly every set is competitive until the very last point, with neither side able to gain some true momentum. This was the case in the opening set on Saturday, with the largest deficit the Oaks faced being 12-8. They quickly erased this thanks to some sharp shooting from Bailey Gamez, Maggie McDonald, and Sofia Salim, all contributing kills that led to a 6-1 Menlo run to give them a 14-13 lead. Menlo later trailed 19-17 in the back half of the set but Salim and McDonald once again recorded kills to tie the match at 20-20. From here it was blow for blow the rest of the way, until Menlo held a 24-23 lead after a kill from Sierra Buscher. With just one more point needed to win the set, the Lions tallied the set's final three points to take the first set 26-24.
The Lions got off to a pretty good start in the second set as well, holding a very early 7-4 lead before the tables turned and Menlo was able to get momentum on their side. A service ace by McDonald tied the match at 7-7, Kenzie Carpenter re-tied it at 8-8 with a kill, and Emily Sunada provided the go-ahead point to make it 9-8. Menlo never trailed the rest of the way and made quick work of Vanguard with a slew of aces from Monica Hruby, Salim, and Buscher. Vanguard made it tight at 21-20, but the Oaks scored the final four points of the set with an exclamation point on a kill from Sunada. 25-20.
The third set belonged entirely to Vanguard, as was indicated by the first eight points of the match going to the home team. Menlo was able to end the run with a kill from Salim, but they were never able to recover out of that eight-point hole. Vanguard used that early cushion to put the Oaks away 25-19 in the third set. The Lions also had a decent lead in the fourth set, up 10-4 early. The Oaks came storming back in an attempt to force a fifth set, thanks to some attack errors on the part of Vanguard. Salim contributed a pair of kills, as did Gamez, to force a tie at 14-14. The Lions were able to earn 11 of the final 16 points in the match, however, and come away with another 25-19 win in the final set to win the match.
The Oaks do not play on the road again until October 4th, which means they have five consecutive matches at home, three of them in the upcoming week. Menlo hosts UC Santa Cruz on Wednesday, September 20th at 7:00 PM, and then hosts a pair of conference matches on Friday and Saturday against The Master's and Westmont.