After opening its inaugural season in South Carolina last weekend, the Oregon sand volleyball team traveled to Southern California to play its next three matches over a two-day period.
The SoCal swing didn’t get off to a good start as Oregon fell to Cal-State Bakersfield by a score of 3-2.
Oregon’s most athletic duo of Serena Warner and Naya Crittenden struggled on the day as they fell 21-16 and 21-10 at the No. 5 spot in the first match.
The Ducks evened up the score as Martenne Bettendorf and Amanda Benson showed off their steady balance of defense and blocking to win 21-18 and 21-18 at the No. 4 spot and give the Ducks hope.
Oregon couldn’t keep up the good vibes as the next match to get done was the No. 2 spot. Canace Finley and Natalie Bookout Gonzalez never found their footing, getting crushed by scores of 21-4 and 21-6 to give Bakersfield all the momentum.
Shellsy Ashen and Kacey Nady seized back the momentum for Oregon at the No. 3 spot as they won 21-15 and 21-11 to set up a winner-take-all match at the No. 1 spot.
Liz Brenner and Tatum Norton were Oregon’s hope for its second victory of the season but the duo came up just short, losing in three sets. After Brenner and Norton fell behind 1-0, losing the first set 21-11, the duo rallied to win a nalibiter, 21-19, to set up a third set for all the money. The third set was a back-and-forth affair but it saw Bakersfield come out on top in the end, winning 15-12 and sending Oregon to a 1-5 season record.
Oregon returns to action tomorrow with a doubleheader against No. 2 USC and Cal-State Northridge in Los Angeles, Calif. The Ducks will face USC at 4:30 p.m. before taking on Northridge at 6 p.m.
Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka