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BERKELEY, Calif. – The No. 11 University of Oregon volleyball team (14-1, 2-1) suffered its first defeat of the season Friday at No. 8 California (13-0, 3-0) by a 25-16, 25-14, 25-16 count.
Oregon entered the match on a school record 14-win streak, but against another unbeaten team that was a returning NCAA Regional finalist, something had to give.
The Bears entered the contest atop the NCAA hitting category with a .347 mark, and again hit .300 Friday – while their defense racked up 16 blocks – both season highs by a Duck opponent this year.
In contrast, UO combined on a season-low .051 hitting mark, and was led offensively by senior outside hitter Heather Meyers who posted her 10th double-digit kill tally of the season (11 kills), and hit a team-high .219 – her second team best of the campaign.
The Temecula, Calif., native Meyers – already ranked ninth all-time for UO in career kills – pulled within two of the eighth-best mark held by Monique Tobbagi (1,174, 1998-01).
Freshman setter Lauren Plum added 23 assists, two blocks and six digs, and tied her season high in kills (6) to tie for second-most on the squad with sophomore outside hitter Katherine Fischer. The latter player added 13 digs – one off her three-set season high and the third time that she’s paced UO in the category this season.
Freshman middle blocker Ariana Williams ended with four blocks – one off her season high and a team-best seventh time she’s topped Oregon in ‘10.
In the team comparisons, Cal held advantages in kills (43-32), aces (3-0), blocks (16-6), digs (51-47) and assists (41-30).
At the service line, UO failed to land an ace for the first time this season after entering the match ranked second nationally and first in the Pac-10 in per set average (2.20).
Individually for Cal, two hitters topped .500 – national leader Shannon Hawari (.500, 9 kills) and All-Pac-10 honorable mention Tarah Murrey (.351, 16 kills, 1 ace) – and other category leaders included Carli Lloyd (36 assists), Robin Rostratter (14 digs, 1 ace), Kat Brown (8 blocks) and Meagan Schmitt (1 ace).
"Cal played great," Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. "Their seving took us out of our passing game. We knew if they stayed in their system they would be hard to beat, and that's what they did. We looked like a young team, and we have to learn from this and get better. We know it won't be easy or happen on it's own."
In other action around the Pac-10 Friday, No. 1 Stanford swept Oregon State at home; No. 12 UCLA swept Washington State in Pullman; and No. 10 Washington edged formerly unbeaten No. 5 USC, 3-2, in Seattle.
Looking ahead, UO heads to No. 1 Stanford (12-0, 3-0) for a 7 p.m. match, Saturday, October 2.
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