The Menlo College women's volleyball team continued to reap the benefits of a storied 2012 campaign, as the duo of sophomore Courtney Calicdan and junior Nicole Yap both secured places on the 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association NAIA Southwest Region Honorable Mention list.
The Oaks recently wrapped up their season with their first California Pacific Conference regular-season and postseason tournament title since 2009, culminating in a trip to the National Championship Tournament, where they fell in the opening round to College of Idaho.
Calicdan already had been honored as the Cal Pac Player of the Year and a conference first-teamer, after a season that saw the outside hitter from Honolulu lead the Cal Pac in hitting percentage (.257) to go along with a team-leading 243 kills. Calicdan also was the only player in the conference to earn Player of the Week honors on more than one occasion.
As far as Yap is concerned, the San Francisco native was tabbed as the Cal Pac Newcomer of the Year, and a conference first-teamer in her first season. Yap ranked third in the Cal Pac in hitting percentage (.201) and kills per set (3.18), while finishing second on the Oaks with 229 kills.
Menlo College is off to an 8-0 start following a 69-55 nonconference win over Cal State San Marcos on Saturday night. The Oaks used a quick start to the second half, a double-double from sophomore Laurel Donnenwirth, and 20 points from fellow sophomore Jolise Limcaco to hold off the Cougars' late charge.
"We did well as a team, everyone did their role and played their part tonight," said Donnenwirth, who finished with 10 points and 12 boards for her fourth straight double-digit rebounding performance. "I just kept crashing the boards as hard as I can, that's my role on this team, and I'm going to stick to it."
The Oaks took a 39-28 lead into the break, before coming out scorching moments into the second stanza. Menlo opened period on a 14-2 run thanks in large part to Limcaco's six points during the stretch. The dynamic guard from Sacramento ended the evening with her fourth straight 20-point showing.
The early second-half spurt served as the game's turning point, at least as far as Oaks' coach Shannon Osborne was concerned.
"We did a great job of setting the tone from the onset in the second half, starting on the defensive end," Osborne said. "We had clutch rebounds, a number of steals, and overall great defensive which led to a number of easy baskets."
The Cougars (3-7) fought hard until the final buzzer. Down as many as 24, inside of eight minutes, San Marcos found a way to chop the deficit to 10 with 1:49 left. Junior Sherika Miller led the comeback bid, scoring a game high 23 points, knocking down 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.
A basket by Menlo's Alexandria Collier with just over a minute to go helped break the Cougars' momentum as it padded Menlo's lead to 12. San Marcos never got within single digits after that.
Senior Lauren Adamek rounded out the Oaks trio of double-digit scorers, racking up 11 on 5-of-9 shooting.
Menlo will put its undefeated record on the line Friday against visiting Oregon Tech at 6 p.m.
Menlo concluded the 2012 Lamont Ramsey Classic with an 0-2 mark, after Johnson & Wales (Fla.) got the better of the Oaks, 67-62, on Saturday in Atherton.
The Oaks (2-7) wiped away an early seven-point, second-half deficit and eventually knotted the score at 43 on a George Kipiani bucket with 13:40 remaining.
John & Wales (4-4) responded with an 11-2 run to reclaim the lead and grab a 54-45 advantage with 11:12 left.
Menlo got as close as four points on two separate occasions in the final stages, but key turnovers and sub-par free-throw shooting prevented the Oaks from coming any closer. Menlo eclipsed the 20-turnover margin for the second straight game, and shot just 50 percent from the free-throw line in the second half.
Despite the loss, Menlo freshman David Abittan and junior Keith Bowman continued their recent stellar play, as Abittan led the Oaks with 14 points and Bowman added 13 points plus five rebounds. Sophomore Toreno Winn led all players with six assists.