Oregon volleyball falls to Minnesota in Big Ten/Pac-12 challenge

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Oregon’s women’s volleyball team got off to a strong 4-0 start to the season, but suffered its 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’s usually a chance to see where you think you are at the start of the season or to show that you have to work harder to get where you want to be. Traveling to Big Ten country in the heart of college volleyball isn’t a bad place to take that test, but against third-ranked Minnesota, the Ducks faltered.

In the game, the Ducks were not blown. Every set was tight. Oregon dropped the first two games, rallied in both, won the third set, and lost the match in the fourth set. For Oregon, Brooke Nuneviller continued her pace from last season by setting a team high with 21 kills. She also had three blocks and an ace on a serve. Throughout the game, the Ducks were competitive, but the Golden Gophers scored key points at the right time.

Minnesota closed the second set 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 runs. However, the Ducks have shown they can fight anyone. They weren’t blown in the sets they lost but didn’t have momentum in key places to take advantage of it.

For Nuneviller, it was his third game of the season with 20 or more wins. With her perfect serve in the game, she is now in the top ten of Oregon’s all-time list with 106 aces in her career.

In the first game of the night, the Penn State Nittany Lions upset the Stanford Cardinal at home in Minnesota. The Ducks and Cardinal won’t meet until Pac-12 play begins, 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 stage of the season.

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