EUGENE, Ore. – Playing its fourth road match in the past eight days may have caught up to the No. 20 Cal women’s volleyball team.
The Bears got 10 kills and four blocks from junior opposite hitter Christina Higgins but it wasn’t enough in a 25-21, 25-21, 25-21 loss at Oregon on Friday night.
Cal entered the night winners of seven of its previous eight matches, including three in a row on the road. The Bears won at Utah last Thursday, at Colorado last Saturday and at Oregon State on Thursday night.
“It’s so tough to be on the road, period,” Cal coach Rich Feller said. “To be on the road two weeks in a row, and have two mid-week matches in a row, that’s hard. But I honestly think Oregon just came out ready to play. They dictated the tempo from the very beginning.”
Sophomore middle blocker Lara Vukasovic added nine kills and six blocks for the Bears (17-8, 10-6 Pac-12) while sophomore middle blocker Lillian Schonewise also had nine kills. Sophomore outside hitter Michelle Neumayr added six kills and 13 digs.
“They were extremely error-free and we seldom got into a good rhythm,” Feller said. “When we did get into a good rhythm, we scored points. But we weren’t able to sustain it. They had a great game plan and played very well.”
The Bears beat the Ducks (15-11, 8-8) in five sets last month at Haas Pavilion to split the season-series. Oregon All-American setter Lauren Plum wasn’t fully recovered from an injury that night, and she was back at full strength Friday.
Plum dished out 40 assists and outside hitter Liz Brenner had 18 kills and 11 digs.
“She makes a difference,” Feller said of Plum. “Lauren is really the heart and soul of that team and keeps them going at a high level.”
Feller, who notched his 300th win at Cal on Thursday, remains at 599 career wins overall.
After a grueling stretch on the road, the Bears now have a week off until their next match. Cal will host No. 3 Washington on Friday at 6 p.m. The match will air on the Pac-12 Networks.