The Menlo College women's volleyball team opened its season at the Biola Summer Slam on Thursday, dropping a pair of competitive matches to Top 25 teams.
The Oaks lost to 16th-ranked Southern Oregon, 25-23, 25-17, 25-14, in the morning and then fell to No. 23 Lewis-Clark State, 26-24, 25-21, 25-13, in the afternoon.
Menlo (0-2) takes on Great Falls at noon Friday and meets Montana Tech at 4 p.m.
In a see-saw first set battle against the Raiders, neither team led by more than four points. The set was tied at 23 when SOU nailed the final two points for the victory.
Freshman Maggie McDonald turned in an impressive debut for Menlo, collecting 12 kills in 27 attempts and a .333 hitting percentgame. She added six digs, a block and a service ace. Freshman Kenzie Carpenter contributed six kills.
Senior setter Kaya Johnson accumulated 16 assists and five digs and Renn Isobe had 12 digs.
The Oaks played the Warriors tough in the first set of the afternoon match. Menlo netted four straight points to earn a 10-7 edge, but Lewis-Clark State took a 17-14 advantage.
Menlo regained the momentum, though, going on a 10-5 run to take a 24-22 lead. The Warriors managed to end the set with four consecutive points.
Freshman Maddie Clegg led the Oaks with eight kills. Senior team captain Jamie Nurengerg chipped in five kills and a trio of blocks.
Freshman Alissa Soriano gave Menlo an early advantage but Southern Oregon tied the game in the second half and the teams settled for a 1-1 tie in the season opener for both schools on Thursday night at Sequoia High in Redwood City.
Soriano, who scored off a corner kick from senior team captain Jocelyn Aguilar, had three of the Oak seven shots on goal.
"Allissa has had a great preseason and has been setting a very high standard for herself," Menlo coach Keith Lambert said. "Jocelyn played a great ball in and Allissa was aggressive out of the air to win it and put it on frame."
Menlo pressured the Raiders defense the entire match, getting off a total of 13 shots.
"I'm proud of our team's effort and I thought everyone worked hard and executed well," said Lambert. "I was happy with how our new players performed and that our returners showed quality leadership and consistency. I am very pleased that we were able to go 6 players into the bench with no drop off in the level."
The defense played a strong match, including a tremendous effort form keeper Kaylin Swart, who turned away four shots and helped direct a backline led by the play of junior transfer Alice Eliasson.
Menlo hosts UC Merced on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.