Uploaded: Monday, October 29, 2012, 3:27 PM
Oaks fall to nation's top NAIA football team
|Menlo College ran up against the No. 1 football in the NAIA in undefeated Marian University and the Knights showed their ranking was no fluke by posting a 34-7 win Saturday in Indianapolis, Ind.
Menlo now has dropped three straight games, falling to 4-4. Marian made it 23 straight regular-season victories while improving to 8-0 this season.
The Oaks were held to just 207 yards of total offense and escaped a shutout thanks to a 45-yard touchdown pass from Erik Peterson to Daniel Stevenson with 4:37 to go in the fourth quarter.
The TD heave was, of course, too little and too late as Marian already had built up a 34-0 advantage behind to an impressive 448 yards of total offense.
The Oaks came into the third period still very much in the game against the country's top team, coming off a second quarter in which they blanked Marian to trail just 10-0 as the second half began.
However, all of that quickly changed as the Knights went off, scoring a TD in all three of their third quarter possessions, and then tacking on a field goal in their first drive of the fourth to take a commanding 34-0 lead.
By Menlo standards, the Oaks were kept in check on the ground -- rushing for a season-low 108 yards. Sophomore Jake Fohn paved the way with 49 yards on nine carries.
Starting quarterback Matt Pelesasa attempted just nine passes, completing four of them for 24 yards. Peterson hit on 4-of-7 attempts, totaling 75 yards, a touchdown, and a pick.
Defensively, the Oaks had three players with double-digit tackles, led by Devon Jonsson's 12.
Up next for Menlo is a trip to Joliet, Ill., and a matchup against NAIA No. 17 University of St. Francis.
Menlo's bid at splitting its season-opening games in Southern California went by the books Saturday evening as the Oaks dropped their second straight to begin the 2012-13 campaign, 74-63 to NAIA Division I No. 13 Biola University.
Menlo dropped its opener, 81-59, to host Vanguard in Costa Mesa.
On Saturday, a late second-half swoon cost Menlo, wiping away what was a slim advantage with just over two minutes to go. The Eagles closed things out with a 12-0 run after Menlo had taken a 63-62 lead.
Senior ChaRunn Jones and junior Charles Barnes accounted for 32 of Menlo's 63 points, including nine of the Oaks' 11 three-pointers.
Menlo will open its home season Thursday against Corban University at 7 p.m.
A stingy defense surrendered just four total shots on Saturday as Menlo produced a 3-0 victory over visiting Cal Martime on Saturday in California Pacific Conference action.
The win kept the Oaks perfect Cal Pac action at 6-0 (10-3-3 overall).
Alex Vukic, a senior forward from Sacred Heart Prep, set the tempo from the onset, finding the back of the net on two separate occasions before a third of the first-half had even expired. The Menlo Park native wasn't finished either, racking up an assist on a late second-half goal by Jan-Niklas Erasmy to extend the lead to 3-0.
"We played well as a team today, we touched it around all afternoon," Vukic said on his squad's impressive showing.
The two goals by Vukic gives him six on the season, second-best for the Oaks this season.
Defensively, Menlo stifled Cal Maritime for 90 minutes while allowing just two shots in each half, only one of which was on goal. Aside from two free kicks inches outside of the box in the first stanza, it was hard pressed to find a legitimate Keelhaulers' scoring attempt.
"Today was one of the best defensive games we have played," Vukic said. "We dropped Eric (Angell) in the back which helped us a lot and solidified our defense."
Two matches stand between Menlo and its second straight undefeated conference campaign. On tap first is a matchup at William Jessup on Wednesday.
Three sets were all it took for Menlo to prove its dominance Friday night as the Oaks left Merced (7-18, 4-6) with a clean sweep over the Bobcats for their 11th consecutive win.
The 25-17, 25-16, 25-11 victory puts Menlo just one win away from wrapping up an undefeated Cal Pac season. The Oaks now post an 8-0 Cal Pac mark with a 14-6 overall record.
Junior Nicole Yap and senior Stephenie Monderine paved the way in the sweep as the pair represented two out of only three players on the court with at least a .350 hitting percentage. Yap racked up a match-high 11 kills and made just one attack error in accumulating a .370 hitting percentage, while Monderine stacked up six kills, zero attack errors, and led the Oaks with 14 assists.
The duo's combined one attack error was part of team-wide theme for the match, as Menlo made just 10 attack errors as opposed to 29 for Merced. Menlo senior Mika Mendoza and sophomore Courtney Calicdan tied for a match-high 14 digs.
Menlo can finish off an unbeaten league season on Friday against visiting William Jessup at 7:30 p.m. The match marks Senior Night for the Oaks in Haynes-Prim Pavilion.
— Palo Alto Online Sports
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