ATHERTON, Calif. – Menlo College Women's Volleyball got back into conference play with a match against The Master's University on Friday night. The Oaks came in off an impressive three-set win on Wednesday while the Mustangs had won four consecutive matches after a shaky beginning to the season. Menlo had not beat the Mustangs since 2013, but they were able to overcome their recent history and win in convincing fashion, sweeping the Mustangs in three sets. The Oaks earned their 12th win of the season to improve to 12-5 and 2-2 in conference play while the Mustangs fell to 6-8 and 2-2 in GSAC games.
The opening set got out to about as good of a start as the Oaks could have hoped for, with Monica Hruby serving for a run that saw Menlo score the first five points of the game. The Mustangs stopped the run and got a few points on the board, but Menlo continued to open it up with Hannah Hudson serving. Three consecutive Mustang attack errors pushed the early Menlo lead to 11-3, and Menlo never even had to sweat. Jade Rockwood served on another 4-0 run for the Oaks, Moea Kekauoha picked up an ace on a wicked spin serve, and suddenly Menlo led 18-5. The Oaks finished out the match strong with a 25-15 finish after Emily Sunada punched down a kill to end the first set.
Things got much closer in the second set despite the Oaks jumping out to a 4-1 lead thanks more good serving and a kill from Bailey Gamez and Sofia Salim. The Mustangs went on a run of their own, taking ten of the next twelve points to open up an 11-6 lead. While it looked like things might start to turn, Menlo turned to Sunada to serve up a run of their own, and that's exactly what happened. Starting with a Buscher kill, Menlo took six straight points to go up 13-12, capping the run off with a service ace and forcing the Mustangs into a timeout. Coming out of the break, both teams remained close in score, with the Mustangs taking a slight lead into the latter moments of the match. Leading 21-20, the Mustangs could not seal the deal with the Oaks playing a confident style of volleyball. Led by their middle blockers, Menlo finished the game on a 5-1 run and ended it with an attack error by The Master's to win 25-22.
Another close set got began with set number three, and the Mustangs knew their backs were against the wall. The Master's began with a 6-3 lead after getting five straight points with Rebecca Davis back serving. Menlo broke up that run with a kill from Maggie McDonald, and then took control of the set with Rockwood back serving. She served up an ace, got a kill from Kenzie Carpenter and Kekauoha, and Menlo suddenly led 13-8. The Mustangs then had to play catch up for the remainder of the set, and catch up they would eventually do. After trailing by one or two for a majority of the set, the Mustangs tied it at 23-23 off an attack error from Sunada, but Menlo would close it out with a kill from Carpenter and a Mustang attack error to send Haynes-Prim Pavilion into jubilation with the 25-23 win.
The Oaks remain at home on Saturday afternoon and they will have their work cut out for them with a huge conference match against #5 Westmont. First serve is set for 2:00 PM and the match will be streamed live on the Menlo College Sports Network.