The Oregon women’s volleyball team was off to a strong 4-0 start to the season but saw their first loss of the season in a 3-1 loss to Minnesota on Friday night.
There are games that teams usually play at the start of the season to check their progress. It is typically an opportunity to see where you think you may fit starting the season, or to show that you need to work harder moving forward to get to where you want to be. Traveling to Big Ten country to the heart of college volleyball is not a bad place to have that test, but against third-ranked Minnesota, the Ducks faltered.
In the match, the Ducks were not blown out. Each set was close. Oregon dropped the first two games, rallied in both, won the third set, and lost the game in the fourth set. For Oregon, Brooke Nuneviller continued her pace from last season setting a team-high with 21 kills. She also had three blocks and an ace on a serve. Throughout the match, the Ducks were competitive, but the Golden Gophers hit key point runs at the right times.
Minnesota closed out set two on a 6-0 run to take the lead. To open the third set of the match, the Golden Gophers started on a tear with four straight points. However, the Ducks showed they can battle with anyone. They were not blown out in the sets they lost but did not have momentum at key spots to take advantage.
For Nuneviller, it was her third match of the season with 20 or more kills. With her perfect serve in the game, she is now in the top ten in Oregon’s all-time list with 106 aces in her career.
In the first match of the night, the Penn State Nittany Lions upset the Stanford Cardinal on Minnesota’s home floor. The Ducks and Cardinal will not meet until Pac-12 play starts but will face Penn State on Saturday to close out the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. In the past, the Ducks have played well against the Nittany Lions. Both teams are ranked closely at this early point in the season.
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