Menlo soccer won't surprise this year
Men are defending Cal Pac champions; women look to rebound
Menlo College men's soccer coach Mike Keller knows it will be pretty hard to sneak up on people they way the Oaks did last year in winning the Cal Pac Conference title and advancing to the national tournament.
Then again, it's just a different challenge for the Oak, who went unbeaten and untied in conference play and 13-4-1 overall.
Even missing its top two scorers, Menlo figures to compete for a repeat. One of the reasons is senior goalkeeper Alex Palomarez, who allowed 13 goals in just over 1,403 minutes, an 0.834 goals against average.
The Lady Oaks, meanwhile, look to shrug off last year's 5-11-2 (2-4 in the Cal Pacd) season behind senior defender Alison Hammond, the team's second-leading scorer a year ago.
Palomarez was named an NAIA honorable mention All-American last year after a season of highlight reel saves. He'll once again lead the emotional charge on defense, which also includes returning players Vladimir Cabrera, Lorenzo Lato, Eric Angell, Eric Tilbury, Giuseppe Frattaroli and Jose Castaneda.
While the Oaks lost two of their top scorers, Sacred Heart Prep grad Alex Kukic returns for his senior year after scoring nine goals, second-best last year. Sophomore Ricardo Urruela also showed he's capable of picking up some of the scoring slack too.
Seniors Hugo Conchas, Ian Craig, Daniel Martinez and Blair Ord also figure to pitch in with quality play.
Juniors Alban Kalasa, Dylan Crist and Giovanni Serrato add to the mix along with sophomores Enrique Ortiz, a Menlo-Athereton grad and Alex Kunkel.
The Oaks outscored their opponents by a 42-14 margin and outshot them 303-205. With Palomarez in front of the net, that should likely be the case again.
The Menlo College women's soccer team hopes to set a foundation for future success with Hammond and fellow seniors Kristina Roome. Amber Jaimes and Megan McKee.
Juniors Vicky Schultz, Whitney Galindo, Jennifer Purvis, Natalie Ingram, Valerie Comstock, Eric Hunting and Tiare Fuentes look to establish a winning culture.
Sophomores Arielle Peraza, Amanda Martinez, Kayla Cisneroz and Victoria Piazza will also be expected to contribute, while a solid freshmen class figures to get a chance to play.