ATHERTON, Calif. – Menlo College Women's Volleyball returned home on Wednesday evening for the beginning of a five match homestand, kicking it off with a match against longtime rival UC Santa Cruz. The Oaks were looking to avenge some of their demons from the past weekend, dropping consecutive conference matches to put them on a losing skid. Menlo got over that hump in a big way on Wednesday, using a plethora of aces to sweep the Slugs in straight sets. Menlo is now 11-5 on the season while UC Santa Cruz is 3-8.
The opening set was actually a lot closer than the final score indicated, but the Oaks were able to blow the roof off of Haynes-Prim Pavilion down the stretch with some of the best serving they have had all season, specifically from Sierra Buscher. The Oaks held a 12-9 advantage midway through the match before Emily Sunada led a run while she was back to serve. Kenzie Carpenter came up big as a substitution in the set, recording a pair of kills while Sunada recorded one of eight aces in the opening set. The real deal breaker in the set? Buscher got one of her four kills in the first set to make it 18-12, and then she rattled off an unreal four consecutive service aces to make it 22-12, part of a 5-0 Menlo run. She totaled a whopping six aces in the first set to go along with her four kills as part of a stat-stuffing night, leading Menlo to a 25-13 first set win.
UC Santa Cruz held its own in the second set, flip flopping with Menlo for points, taking it tied 10-10 into the middle portion of the match. Hannah Hudson went back to serve for the Oaks, got an ace, and the momentum suddenly switched for the remainder of the match. Moea Kekauoha came alive in the middle of the match with a pair of kills to extend the Menlo lead to 15-12 and eventually 19-15. After a pair of points scored by the Slugs, Buscher got another kill and another ace to make it 22-17, and Menlo put it away for the 25-19 set win.
Menlo seemed determined to end the match in three sets by coming out and taking the early advantage off another ace from Hudson and kills from Bailey Gamez and Maggie McDonald, but UC Santa Cruz held tight with some long rallies in the middle. They eventually pulled even at 13-13 before Menlo again took control of the set with Monica Hruby back to serve. She got an ace, Carpenter and McDonald each got kills, and suddenly it was 18-14 Menlo. They would never trail the remainder of the match, and Hudson put a bow on the night in a fitting way: an ace.
Menlo tallied an incredible 16 aces on the night, with eight of them coming from Buscher who also had a team-best 11 kills and 11 digs. Hudson led the Oaks with 14 digs and had a pair of aces. Kekauoha had seven kills and 10 digs while McDonald and Carpenter each came up with six of their own.
The Oaks remain at home this weekend and are back in conference play against The Master's University on Friday. First serve is set for 7:00 PM before the Oaks take on #5 Westmont College on Saturday at 2:00 PM.