The Menlo College men's soccer team downed host Simpson, 4-0, Wednesday in a key Cal Pac Conference contest.
The Oaks (7-3-1 in the North Division, 8-4-3 overall) can clinch at least a tie for the division title with a victory over visiting Cal Maritime on Saturday. They own a 3-point advantage over William Jessup with two matches remaining.
The Warriors (6-4-1, 7-8-1) host Menlo a week from Saturday in the regular-season finale. The Cal Pac tournament begins Nov. 15 at Embry-Riddle in Prescott, AZ.
Marymount California (12-0 in the South Division, 14-2 overall) has clinched its spot in the conference tournament.
Four players scored for Menlo against the Red Hawks, with Christian Abrego scoring in the seventh minute to put the Oaks ahead early. Abrego received an assists from Jose Castenada.
Tung Le and Sean Kane combined to give Menlo a 2-0 lead in the 20th minute. Kane scored his second goal of the season and Le earned his fifth assist.
Oaks' leading scorer Andrew Cota drove home his 12th goal of the season off a Nicholas Krahnke assist and moved into a third-place tie in the conference in goals scored.
Edward Millington scored his first goal of the year, getting an assist from Abrego, in the 65th minute.
"It was a determined performance," Menlo coach Eric Bucchere said. "We're still improving as a unit and I believe that our best soccer is still ahead of us."
Martin De La Torre and Armando Medina combined for the shutout, each playing a half.
A late goal from senior Tiare Fuentes, with an assist from Danielle McCarthy, was enough for Menlo to down host Simpson, 1-0, in Cal Pac Conference action Wednesday.
Simpson goalkeeper Natasha Webb recorded nine saves to keep the contest close. Fuentes struck in the 83th minute to prevent a surprising outcome. The Red Hawks remain win less on the year. Menlo (7-2 in Cal Pac play, 10-3 overall) held a lopsided 16-3 advantage in shots, including a 10-0 in shots on goal.
"We didn't have a very good first half, the team lacked urgency and communication and we were not able to get a goal or generate any great chances," Lady Oaks coach Keith Lambert said. "At half we discussed coming out and being more intense and communicating with one another during the run of play. It was a much better half and we were more dangerous and held possession better. It took 83 minutes but we finally converted."
Menlo is in a second-place tie with Marymount California, both having 21 points. The Lady Oaks, with a game in hand, travel to Marymount for an important matchup on Friday.
Menlo has three matches remaining, while conference leader William Jessup (8-2, 10-6) and Marymount (7-3, 10-6) each have two matches left. The Lady Oaks also play at William Jessup a week from Saturday.
Menlo opens its season on Friday night with an exhibition at Sacramento State.
All-Cal Pac Conference honorable mention picks Charles Barnes and John Smith return from a team that went 10-18 overall, but reached the title game of the conference tournament.
Menlo was picked to finish third in a preseason coaches poll. Defending champion Cal Maritime was chosen to win it, followed by William Jessup.
Menlo returns Cal Pac Player of the Year and NAIA Honorable Mention All-American Jolise Limcaco and Cal Pac Defender of the Year Laurel Donnenwirth along with a slew of other talented players who helped the Lady Oaks to a 18-2 in Cal Pac play since 2011, earning back-to-back conference titles.
The Lady Oaks, who play an exhibition at Notre Dame de Namur on Friday, were once again picked to win the conference, with William Jessup the second choice.