No. 20 Oregon Volleyball Gets Sweep of Fresno State Classic

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No. 20 Oregon Volleyball (7-3) answered a lot of early-season questions with a nine-set sweep of their three matches in the Fresno State Classic. Ariana Williams had double-digit kills in all three matches and after the second set of match one, the Ducks won every set by at least four.

Match one on Friday night started close, but Oregon’s defense tightened up later on. Against Cal State Bakersfield, the Ducks won 25-23 and 25-22 before dominating set three 25-18, with the help of 12 Bakersfield errors in that set alone. Senior setter Lauren Plum led the team in assists (36) once again, but also reached her fourth double-double of the season with 10 digs. Williams led the team in kills with 12 and the team outshot CSU by a considerable margin throughout.

Oregon Ducks Volleyball
Oregon Ducks Volleyball
(Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

That CSU match was probably Plum’s best of the season as she added five kills on six attempts for a blistering .833 clip. Plum’s specialty is a trick shot which turns the second hit (typically angled for an assist to a hitter) into a sneaky lift over the net. When used sparingly, it has had an excellent rate of success.

The Ducks woke up early Saturday morning and got right back to work. They stormed out to beat Belmont 25-12, 25-20 and 25-15, finishing with a .356 attack percentage, compared to their opponent’s .040 rate. The Bruins were overmatched in just about every phase of the game as they lost the blocking battle 11-3 and, despite the Ducks’ error problems, Belmont doubled Oregon up in errors, 22-11.

Four Ducks finished the second match with at least seven kills, led again by Williams at 11 but followed closely by Martenne Bettendorf (8), Liz Brenner (8) and Canace Finley (7). Brenner had 9 in the first match as well, but finished all three matches with attack percentages under .250. And Plum finished the second match with 36 assists again.

Liz Brenner
Liz Brenner | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

Oregon finished the weekend strong Saturday night against Fresno State. The team regrouped after a 25-21 first set, to finish with a runaway 25-17 and 25-14 second and third sets. The team trailed just twice in the entire match, falling behind early, and tying up the first set at 14. The teams traded the advantage for a bit, but Oregon cruised once they passed the 20-point mark. The Ducks only trailed once each in the second set and third set.

Brenner led the team in kills this set with 13 and Williams gave them a second double-digit killer with 10. The team again had a large lead in blocks, 11.5-to-6 over the Bulldogs. And Amanda Benson, who’s been a revelation at libero, picked up 15 digs. And coach Jim Moore had to be impressed by another win in the errors category, finishing with nine less errors (20-11).

With seven wins under their belt, the Ducks have an 11-day break until their next match. Oregon travels to Corvallis on Sept. 25 to duel with the Beavers in an important rivalry match.

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Franklin Bains, contributing sports writer for EDN, writes about Ducks volleyball, Eugene prep sports and Pac-12 football, as well as some odds and ends in Oregon sports. Previously wrote for the Oregon Daily Emerald. Bains writes a weekly Pac-12 recap, and his favorite place in the spring might just be the PK Park press box.

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