The Oregon volleyball team went 0-5 at the Monona Grove Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 7, but several matches came down to the final points.

The Panthers lost in three sets at Milton on Thursday, Sept. 5.

“We are shoring up a lot of our serve receive and passing,” Oregon coach Jen Grulke said. “Our defense and attack is something we have to improve on. Now it’s a matter of winning some of those rallies and out-of-system plays.”

Monona Grove Invitational

Three of Oregon’s losses were to Big Eight Conference teams, including Verona, which beat Monona Grove in the championship match.

Verona (12-3) rolled to a 25-17, 25-16 win over Oregon. Ripon edged the Panthers 25-22, 25-23 and Madison East clipped Oregon 25-22, 18-25, 15-8.

“We are so close and are on the cusp,” Grulke said. “I’m excited about what they are capable of doing.”

Oregon also lost to Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 25-22, 25-20 and then lost to Madison La Follette 25-22, 25-19.

Oregon senior Nicole Cochems had a team-high 16 kills in two matches. She missed three matches because she was taking the ACT.

Grace Engel had 15 kills, and Sara Christenson dished out 49 assists. Libero Maddi Malcook posted a team-high 51 digs. Makyla Vondra was brought up from the junior varsity team and had a team-high 12 blocks. Gracen Gilbertson served six aces, and Emily Konop added five aces.

Milton def. Oregon 25-16, 25-17, 25-11

The Panthers went on the road in Badger South play and were swept by the Red Hawks.

Cochems posted four kills and three blocks. Malcook had a team-high 14 digs. Christenson had five assists, and Konop served two aces.

Sports editor Adam Feiner can be contacted at ungsportseditor@wcinet.com.