"The difference between winning and losing this match came down to a handful of very small things and some specific plays," said head coach Rob Browning. "You can't overlook details against a team like Oregon and expect to come out on top. We showed for most of the match that we can play with a team like this... but there were moments when we simply did not execute when it mattered."
With the loss, Saint Mary's drops to 5-4 while Oregon improves to 8-0.
"We served and passed at a very high level for most of the match and that's something that we will take with us," said Browning. "We will have to learn from the rest."
Gabby Jolly led the Gaels with 15 kills on .458 hitting. Fellow middle Katie Reininger also had a strong match with 11 kills on .562 hitting. Jordan Shaw added nine kills and 10 digs while Lauren Corp chipped in with six kills. Dalas Dodd had 42 assists and six digs.
Oregon was led by Liz Brenner with 17 kills while Alaina Bergsma added 13 kills.
Oregon jumped out to a big 7-1 lead in the first set, but the Gaels rallied and tied the set up at 14-14 after a Jolly kill. SMC led 21-19 and 24-23 but could not get the clinching point. Oregon finished off the set at 27-25 after back-to-back blocks.
Saint Mary's got off to the quick start in set two, taking a 6-2 lead. The Gaels would later lead 15-13, only to see the Ducks come back and tie it up at 19-19. Oregon would outscore SMC 6-2 down the stretch to close out the set 25-21.
The Gaels took a 10-8 lead in the third set after a Reininger kill. Oregon came back quickly to tie it up at 11-11. With the set tied up at 14-14, Oregon scored three straight points to lead 17-14. SMC pulled within 21-19, but the Ducks would close out the set at 25-20.
Saint Mary's is back in action on Friday when it faces Cal in Berkeley at 7:00 p.m.