The Menlo College men's soccer team recorded a much-needed Cal Pac Conference win Friday, beating visiting Soka, 2-1. The Oaks (6-3-1, 7-4-3) remains atop the Cal Pac North Division standings.
The Oaks scored in the 10th minute of play when Andrew Cota took the Oaks first corner kick of the match and entered a well-placed ball into the box and Andrew Nyberg did the rest as his header was on-point and found the back of the net.
Soka tied it up on a Bryce Arenson goal in the 23rd minute. The goal was the team-leading eighth of the season for the Lions, though it would be the only goal of the match thanks to a solid defensive effort from Menlo including Bryce Nelson in the midfield and the back line which included Yohan Mejia, Jose Castenada and Christian Abrego.
Menlo Head Coach Eric Bucchere saw a lot of positives from his team, notably his defense and strong leadership from the senior class.
"We had guys step up," Menlo coach Eric Bucchere said. "We had senior Bryce Nelson who stepped up and was an absolute general in the midfield and we had Christian Abrego step into a right-back position and played flawlessly. He was not going to let us lose he made sure that we won that game."
Bucchere was also happy with the play of Andrew Cota who tallied his team-leading 11th goal and sixth assist to help the Oaks on the offensive front.
"We had a senior goal scorer [Cota get an assist and a goal and win us the game so we had senior leadership all-around today and I think they can see the light at the end of the tunnel and they want to go out winning."
Menlo has now won three of its last five games as they approach the end of the regular season schedule with a berth in the Cal Pac tournament on their minds. They return to conference play on Wednesday afternoon with a 3 p.m. kickoff in Redding against the Simpson Red Hawks.
Natalie Ingram and Danielle McCarthy each scored a goal in the final 15 minutes to help Menlo end a two-game losing streak, edging visiting Soka, 2-1, in Cal Pac play Friday.
Ingram's goal, with an assist from Raquel DeJesus, broke a scoreless tie in the 77th minute. McCarthy followed four minutes later with what proved to be a critical insurance goal.
Soka scored a goal in the 87th minute but Menlo (5-2, 8-3) was able to hold on for the win.
"The team stuck to the objectives of the match and applied what we have been working on in training since our last game," Menlo coach Keith Lambert said. "I was pleased to see us execute defensively and offensively for a majority of the match and happy that we were able to get a goal during the run of play and from a corner kick. I was a little disappointed that we let them back in the game with 2 minutes left, but give credit to Soka for continuing to battle for the entire match."
Menlo has just one remaining regular season home game; Sunday at 12:30 p.m. against Marymount. The day will begin with senior day festivities 20 minutes prior to the opening kick.
Sunday's match is also Menlo's annual "Pink Day" and wearing pink clothing to the game is encouraged.