UC Merced 1, Menlo College 0
Date of competition: Saturday, September 14, 2019
By Ryan Barnett
With the new NAIA Coaches Polls hot off the press, the 17th ranked Menlo men's soccer squad hit the road to take on nonconference rival UC Merced. The Oaks and Bobcats typically play hard fought, physical matches against each other and this was no exception, with the Bobcats finishing on top, 1-0. The Bobcats improve to 2-1-2, while the Oaks fall to 4-1.
Bobcats Strike First
For as much hype there was surrounding the Oaks and their recent ranking, it was the Bobcats who came out of the gates ho. They wasted no time taking an early lead, along with the momentum. Seven minutes into the match, Marcos Ceballos fired the first shot, missing just wide of the post. Less than five minutes later, a deep cross from defender Agustin Guerrero found the foot of Bryan Henriquez Rivera, who fired a rocket into the back of the net. Unlike the Bobcats, the Oaks offense took a little longer to materialize, as they would not fire their first shot until the 20th minute, and would not fire their first shot on goal until the 21st, both coming from Noa Kerr.
Late Oak Opportunities
Menlo put themselves in a position for an equalizer on multiple occasions in the second half. Giovanny Gomes opened the half with back to back shots. The first was saved by the Bobcat keeper, Marco Sobrevilla, and the second missed wide of the net. The Oaks best striking opportunity of the half came in the 73rd minute, as Michael Weber lined a corner in the direction of freshman Caden Mink, who received the ball in a set piece and fired a shot that beat Sobrevilla, but clanged off the crossbar. With time expiring, the Oaks were granted one more scoring opportunity. A handball gave the Oaks a free kick from 20 yards out with five seconds remaining. Weber and Gomes lined up over the ball, with the former taking the shot. Weber lined a pretty shot in the direction of the top left corner, but the ball snuck just over the crossbar, with the clock expiring, and the Oaks were shutout for the first time this year.
Weber and Axel Helmertz were both shown yellow cards in the first half for overly aggressive defensive play, while UC Merced saw two players, Juan Flores and Rodolfo Prado, see yellow for delay of game and a blatant handball respectively in the final minute of play. A tough pill to swallow for the Oaks, Helmertz, a senior and four year player at center back was shown red in the 87th minutes and will be ineligible to play in the Oaks next contest.
The Oaks continue their three game road trip with a visit to the state of Nevada and a matchup with Sierra Nevada College. This will be the Eagles' first match of the season and it will be a tough task indeed, as they are winless in three tries vs Menlo, including an 11-0 defeat a season ago. The Eagles finished last season with a 3-13 record. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Thursday.
posted by Menlo Athletics on Sep 15, 2019 at 12:05 am
|Add your own comment or photos
Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox for free.