Ryan Onizuka scored on a free kick just before halftime and the Menlo College men's soccer team made it stand up as the game-winner in a physically demanding nonconference contest on Saturday at Sequoia High in Redwood City.
The host Oaks beat UC Merced, 1-0, in a game in which the Bobcats were whistled for 18 fouls, and drew three yellow cards and a red card.
Menlo (2-1) created a number of great scoring opportunities for itself in the match though it was the free kick that led to victory.
After a foul occurred just outside of the box, Onizuka was called on to take the kick. He stepped up, beat a line of defenders and the keeper and sent the ball into the net.
The Oaks' defense and junior keeper Alex Coates-McDowall took things over from there, sending away four second-half shots and eight total in the match for the team's second shutout in three outings.
Coates-McDowall, who was active all game long, made four saves. The Oaks, who were playing their third game of the week, saw nine different players go the distance in the strong performance.
Menlo ended on top in total shots (9-8) with junior transfer Eli Bunton leading the charge with four (two on frame). Onizuka was close behind with three including a near-goal that missed by mere inches on the near post late in the second half.
Next for the Oaks is a nonconference meeting with Whittier College on Tuesday afternoon. Due to continuing turf renovations at Wunderlich Field, Tuesday's game has been moved to De Anza College.
A second straight match between Menlo and UC Merced turned into a defensive struggle and a 0-0, double-overtime draw.
The two teams also locked into a double- overtime draw last Nov. 1 to conclude the regular season.
Both defenses shined in the draw, specifically the Oaks who fended off 16 Bobcat shots and notched their first shutout of the year. Junior transfer Kaylin Swart again wowed fans with her athleticism and prowess for the ball, sending away 10 shots on frame and controlling the action with a booming right foot.
Menlo managed to fire eight shots, three on frame with two apiece coming off the feet of Danielle McCarthy and Ashleigh Nelin ,who had arguably the best look of the match for Menlo, a ball that sailed just over the cross bar. Swart, Carolina Velez, and Yasmeen Fuentes each played the full 110 minutes for the Oaks (0-0-2).
"Defensively we were very sound, and I was happy to see our back line and Kaylin get their first shutout of the year," Menlo coach Keith Lambert said. "We showed good depth and ability to battle for 110 minutes."
Menlo will once again play a home game off site on Tuesday afternoon as turf renovations remain in motion at Wunderlich Field. The Oaks will host non-conference opponent Eastern Oregon at De Anza College at 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon.
Menlo dropped all three of its matches at the UC Merced tournament over the weekend.
In Friday's match, the Oaks fell, 3-1, to Cascade Collegiate Conference opponent Oregon Tech, and then were swept by Southern Oregon and the host Bobcats.
The Oaks return to action on Tuesday evening with a home scrimmage against Notre Dame de Namur before returning to regular season and road play on Wednesday against former Cal Pac foe, Pacific Union College.