ATHERTON, Calif. – One day after taking down The Master's University in straight sets, Menlo College Women's Volleyball knew they would have their hands full against one of the top teams in the country. Westmont College entered Saturday's match ranked fifth in the nation and had only dropped a set in just three matches all year. That did not deter the Oaks from hanging in there all afternoon long and taking the third set from Westmont before falling in four to the Warriors. Westmont improves to 19-1 on the year and 5-0 in conference play while the Oaks are 12-6 and 2-3 in GSAC games.
From the beginning, you could tell that the Oaks would not be shaken by the confidence and firepower of the Warriors squad. Menlo tallied the first point of the match on a kill from Sofia Salim and continued to hold their own into the middle portion of the match, where an ace from Monica Hruby put the Oaks up 11-10. An extra gear was found for the Warriors, however, as they opened the match up down the stretch thank to some attack errors from the Oaks. Bailey Gamez tallied multiple kills to keep things close at 15-13, but eight of the final ten points went to the Warriors and they took the opening set 25-16.
Again the Oaks got the first point of the second set, and actually got the first two on attack errors from the Warriors. The problem was that the Oaks were giving those points right back. The first four points of the set for Westmont came via Menlo service errors, very atypical of this team. Menlo cleaned up its act and came back in front with some help by serving from Sierra Buscher, and a kill from her as well. After yet another attack error from the Warriors, Menlo actually led 11-10 this time around. This is again when the Warriors flipped the script with two impressive runs of 6-0 and 5-0 to pull ahead 21-13 and ice the match 25-20 despite some kills from Emily Sunada and Kenzie Carpenter.
The third set is where the Oaks were able to take advantage of mistakes from the Warriors and put together arguably their best set of the year. Everyone was on board from the first point, with Jade Rockwood serving up a 4-0 run early on to make 8-4 Menlo. The Oaks maintained this lead throughout a majority of the middle portion of the match, with Westmont pulling as close as two points on multiple occasions. Back-to-back kills from Salim and then consecutive service aces for Sunada put the Oaks up 20-15, and with the final point riding in the balance, Moea Kekauoha laid down a thunderous kill to seal the deal and give Menlo a 25-19 win.
Westmont is not a team that loses many sets, so you knew that dropping the third set had to irk them in some capacity. They came out with ferocity in the fourth and final set, opening play with a 4-0 run, and stretching things to 15-6 after a 5-0 run in the middle. Sunada kept the Oaks afloat with multiple kills early in the set, but Menlo could never generate any type of offensive efficiency in the set. Westmont closed it out by getting six of the final seven points to take down Menlo in impressive fashion in the final set 25-11.
Menlo College will remain at home this upcoming week and take on two more conference foes over the weekend. San Diego Christian comes to town on Friday night, the 29th, and 7:00 PM, while Arizona Christian comes to Atherton on Saturday at 2:00 PM.