No. 16 Oregon Ducks fall to No. 2 Stanford Cardinal in sweep
The No. 16 Oregon Ducks (9-4, 2-3) fell short to defending national champions and No. 2-ranked Stanford Cardinal (12-2, 5-0) in three straight sets on Friday, Oct. 7 at Matthew Knight Arena.
Undefeated in Pac-12 play, the Cardinal took the match win with a sweep made up of set scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-23.
“I’m proud of our fight,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “We had our chances, but again these are the kind of matches I want to be in all the time. If we are going to make a run to the final four, or better, we have to execute better down the stretch against great teams.”
Oregon was forced to play with a new, and unpracticed, lineup as it was announced Friday afternoon that Jolie Rasmussen would sit out Friday’s match due to recovering from a concussion.
“A rookie coaching mistake,” Ulmer said somewhat jokingly. “We could have done what we did last week, but I didn’t like it enough. I thought we had a better shot making a move.”
Stanford took over set three at 7-6, but Oregon put up a strong fight as they came up from a six-point deficit to battle back-to-back points. Stanford would score two straight points to take the set 25-23 and win the match.
Taylor Agost ended the match with 11 kills, leading the team after each set while playing through a full rotation of outside positions — something the Oregon senior hasn’t done since her senior year in high school.
“Comfortability is a big part of it,” Agost said. “I just knew we had to go out fighting. Obviously, the beginning has a little bit of nerves, just the more play you get helps you to calm down and get more competitive.”
The Ducks demonstrated strong momentum in set two as they maintained multiple leads, pulling them ahead through 18-17. Stanford came back and took the set win of 25-21. Agost led the team with five kills, alongside Lindsey Vander Weide.
After early back-to-back points to begin set one, the Cardinals took over and saw a lead as big as six. Stanford took the first set win with a score of 25-19. Agost ended the set leading the Ducks with three kills, followed by Lindsey Vander Weide and Ronika Stone each with two.
While the match marks the first home loss of the season for the Oregon Ducks, Matthew Knight Arena saw an attendance of 5,872 people, the second most for Oregon volleyball since 2011’s Oct. 7 record attendance of 6,210.
Ulmer was impressed by the continual support showcased all week towards Friday’s match.
“All week it felt like Oregon was a family,” Ulmer said. “From Coach Taggart, the football team, every sports team, to all over Eugene and even up to Portland people were coming down reaching out to me saying ‘We can’t wait to get over here and have your back.’ I wanted us to fight hard and play hard because I want them to love what we love and want to come back and support us again.”
The Ducks will return to Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. to play against the California Golden Bears.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.