The Menlo College women's soccer team has displayed a penchant for the dramatic when it comes to postseason play and Saturday's Gold State Athletic Conference tournament opener at The Master's College in Santa Clarita fit right in.
Following two overtime periods with the match tied at 1, the teams needed a combined total of 21 penalty shots to decide which advanced into the next round. Oak freshman Alana Kualapa delivered the game winner and goalkeeper Kaylin Swart punched out the Mustangs last hope.
Jocelyn Aguilar, Allissa Soriano, Jelissa Blanco and Carolina Velez connected on their attempts to open the penalty kick round. The Master's College matched the Oaks to send it into extra rounds.
The two teams exchanged six consecutive makes with Menlo sending backup keeper Maya Mogensen, and Swart into the fray. After Kualapa gave the Oaks the advantage, Swart guessed correctly, diving to her right and, with her body parallel to the turf, stopped the attempt.
"Today was a great team effort and a product of our team believing in itself and leaving it all out on the field," Menlo coach Keith Lambert said. "TMC is an excellent team and I thought they played really well, especially in the second half, but our girls kept working hard to defend and kept us in a position to win."
The shootout was a deja vu-type moment for a majority of Oak players and the Menlo faithful. The Oaks came in as underdogs and defeated Marymount in similar fashion in the Cal Pac Tournament semifinals in 2014 to advance to the finals where they would eventually claim the conference title.
The Master's College outshot Menlo, 14-6, including a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal, but the Oaks proved resilient in the victory, setting up a meeting w the top-seeded Eagles.
The Oaks and Eagles met twice during the regular season, playing to a draw in Atherton on Sept. 22 and Biola earning a 1-0 victory in La Mirada.
"Our team is dialed in and knows from here on out it is a one game season," Lambert said. "Biola is a tough opponent and we will be playing them on their field, but I think we match up against them well and are ready to compete."
Vanessa D'Amico scored 15 points, Aaliyah Sowards added 13 and Menlo beat visiting Notre Dame de Namur, 84-62, in a nonconference contest Saturday.
The Oaks (1-1) travel to the Las Vegas tournament Friday and meets No. 11 Great Falls in the opening round.
Tyler Evans scored 17 points to lead Menlo past UC Merced, 65-56, on the final day of the Bill Holtz Classic in Rocklin on Saturday.
Brad Sawin added 13 points and Mikey Eggleton had 10 for the Oaks (2-2), who host Whittier in their home opener next Friday at 4 p.m. Dylan Severson recorded 15 rebounds.
Bailey Gomez recorded 12 kills but Menlo dropped a 25-16, 25-18, 25-17 decision to visiting No. 4 Vanguard on Saturday.
Kori Paradis had 20 assists and 15 digs for the Oaks (4-9, 6-19), who had a two-match winning streak end. Libero Malia Luis-Mateo added 19 digs.