Duck spikers suffer first loss of the season

Duck spikers suffer first loss of the season

STANFORD, Calif. – The No. 2 University of Oregon volleyball team (14-1, 5-1) saw its 14-match winning streak come to an end with a hard fought 3-2 loss at No. 7 Stanford (13-2, 5-0) Friday night.

The Cardinal moved ahead of Oregon atop the Pac-12 standings with its 25-23, 18-25, 23-25, 25-20, 15-10 victory on Pac-12 regional television at Maples Pavilion.

In the defensive-heavy battle, only one set featured a hitting mark over .260 between the two teams - the Cardinal's .326 mark in the fourth set.

Individually for UO, redshirt senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma paced the team in kills (19) and points (19.5) for the ninth time this season, and her nine digs was one shy of her fourth double-double of the year.

Sophomore outside hitter Liz Brenner posted her second-highest career kill tally (18) behind her tally in the same location last year (31). On Friday, she claimed her first career double-double with her career high in digs (17), and so was her blocks tally (5).

Her .222 hitting mark Friday was also the team’s best of the match and topped the squad for the fourth time in 2012.

All-Pac-12 setter and junior Lauren Plum logged 59 assists – her third-best total this season – and her 16 digs was a new career best by one over her tally vs. Cal last fall.

At the service line, Plum was one of four Ducks with two aces with Brenner and senior outside hitter Katherine Fischer and defensive specialist Kellie Kawasaki.

Senior libero Haley Jacob again anchored the passing attack with a season-high 26 digs – the third best mark of her career.

In the team comparisons, Stanford owned advantages in hitting (.227-.168) and blocks (18.5-10), and Oregon held edges in kills (73-58), assists (71-52), aces (8-1) and digs (83-71).

Cardinal category leaders included All-American Carly Wopat (15 kills, .371), Brittany Howard (10 blocks), Madi Bugg (32 assists), Kyle Gilbert (24 digs) and Karissa Cook (1 ace).

Falling just shy of their fifth win in series history, the Ducks pushed the Cardinal to five sets for the seventh time in the rivalry that dates back to 1979.

Two of those five-setters resulted in wins under eighth-year head coach Jim Moore - in Stanford last season (3-2) and in Eugene in ’09 (3-2). Oregon’s other victories came +20 years prior in five-setters in ’89 in Palo Alto and in ’86 in Eugene.

Two days earlier, Oregon split the weekend series in the Bay Area with its 3-1 win at California Wednesday night. That outcome helped UO tie its best victory streak - 14 matches - since the start of NCAA volleyball play in 1981.

Looking ahead, Oregon returns home to host Washington State (10-6, 0-4) and No. 2 Washington (13-0, 4-0) next Friday-Saturday, Oct. 12-13 for 6 and 7 p.m. matches. The Cougar tilt will be televised regionally by Pac-12 Networks, while the Husky match features the nation’s last unbeaten team this week.