No. 20 Ducks Come Back to Defeat No. 24 Buckeyes 3-2
The No. 20 Oregon volleyball team (3-0) mounted an impressive comeback victory over the No. 24 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-1), erasing an early 0-2 deficit to win 3-2 on Saturday night at St. John Arena in Columbus.
The two teams began the match neck and neck as neither team was able to lead by more than two points early on. Just past the halfway point, Ohio State scored six straight points to take a 21-15 lead en route to a 25-17 win in the first set.
The two teams found themselves deadlocked at 15 again in the second set. Oregon would keep it close, but a kill from Ohio State’s Emily Danks and an ace from Julianne Mandolfo propelled the Buckeyes to a 25-21 win in the second set to take a commanding 2-0 lead going into the half.
Facing a sweep, the Ducks answered with their strongest offensive set of the season by hitting .500 in the third set. With freshman defensive specialist Tatum Norton serving, the Ducks would go on a 6-0 run to go up 11-5, and would use another four-point run to take an 18-10 lead later in the set. Oregon used a 6-2 run to win the set 25-14.
Much like the rest of the match, the fourth set was another back and forth battle between the teams as they tied the set three different times at 14-14, 19-19, and 20-20. When Oregon used a pair of two-point runs to take a 24-22 lead, Ohio State answered back with two points of their own to tie it at 24. A kill down by Oregon senior outside hitter Katherine Fischer and attack error by Danks gave the Ducks the 26-24 win, sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
In the final set, Oregon jumped out to a 10-4 lead off of kills from redshirt senior Alaina Bergsma, Fischer, and junior middle blocker Ariana Williams, as well as an ace by senior libero Haley Jacob and blocks from Fischer and freshman outside hitter Maddie Magee. After three more kills from Bergsma as well as a ball handling error from Ohio State’s Amanda Peterson, Oregon led 14-8. The Buckeyes would stay in the game however due to attacking errors from Bergsma and sophomore outside hitter Liz Brenner. After a timeout, Fischer capped off the comeback with a kill as Oregon won the set 15-10.
“This was an important test for out team in a lot of ways,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “We didn’t have control of our emotions early, and it showed, and Ohio State took advantage. Once we managed ourselves better and pulled together we showed what we can do.”
The match was a tale of two halves. In the first two sets, Oregon struggled with .129 and .194 hitting percentages. In the second half however, the ducks rebounded with .500, .317 and .333 marks in the third, fourth and fifth sets.
The Buckeyes started strong with .387 and .367 hitting percentages in the first two sets, but struggled in the second half with .086, .227 and .105 hitting marks in the final three sets.
Bergsma was named the Sports Import Classic DC Koehl Classic tourney MVP after she put up a match-high 23 kills Saturday evening. Bergsma also racked up her first double-double of the season with 15 digs, hit .333, also adding an ace and block.
Also coming up big for the Ducks was junior setter Lauren Plum with 61 assists.
The Ducks will stay in Ohio for three more matches at the Baymont Invitational before heading home to Eugene. Oregon will face Western Carolina on Friday, No. 13 Kentucky on Saturday, and Ohio on Sunday. After the tournament, the Ducks will head back to Eugene to take on UC Santa Barbara on September 5th for their first home match of the season at Matthew Knight Arena.