Atherton, Calif. - In what was by far one of their most competitive matches of the season, the Golden Eagles dropped their first Cal Pac match of the season, in a tight five set loss to Menlo College, 23-25, 25-23, 26-24, 20-25, 15-13. For La Sierra is was their fourth match in five days. Conversely, the Oaks were playing their third match in the last two weeks.
The Golden Eagles (9-5, 4-1 Cal Pac) were looking for a perfect northern California trip, after winning their first three contests earlier in the week. But they had to settle for a 3-1 trip, after losing a match between two similarly matched teams. For Menlo, a team that have already knocked off two Top 25 teams (The Master's and CSU San Marcos) in their abbreviated non-conference schedule, it was their Cal Pac opener.
No more than two points decided all but one of the sets, with the two teams splitting the first two sets. Menlo was able to secure a third set victory, but the Golden Eagles didn't fold as they extended the match to five sets, with a 25-20 fourth set victory. But the Oaks secured the match victory by taking the fifth set 15-13.
In the loss, Lupe Garcia finished with an outstanding line with 20 kills on 34 attempts and only four errors (.471). Lina Semaia finished with 18 kills, seven digs, and two block assists. Robyn Miller added 12 kills, five digs, and four block assists.
Colleen Stafford led the offense, tallying 53 assists along with 14 digs, four block assists, and two service aces. Ana Flores led the team defensively with 18 digs in addition to two service aces of her own. Siao Malepeai also added 14 digs, while Johanna Tope added 10 digs. And Sasha Birt-Moody had a match-high nine block assists.
As a team the Golden Eagled tallied 17 blocks in the match, 24 blocks assists and five solo blocks.
Menlo (6-4, 1-0 Cal Pac), was led by Nicole Yap and Courtney Calicdan who each pitched in with 18 kills, in addition to 13 digs and 10 digs respectively.
Needless to say, both teams will anxiously await their rematch scheduled for October 24, at La Sierra University. But with a lot of volleyball in between the Golden Eagles will look to put this most recent loss behind them and focus on the next match ahead.
La Sierra returns home to play a non-conference match, against San Diego Christian College this coming Thursday evening, before jumping back into conference play. The Golden Eagles will have another home match when they host Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) next Sunday morning, at 11am, in a Cal Pac match-up.