A strong performance by All-American Liz Brenner is exactly what Oregon needed after being swept by No. 1 USC the last time they were on court.
“The one thing that Liz is doing right now, for sure, is bringing energy – I mean that’s the thing we need the most,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “Liz has confidence, not in a bad way, but you can sit next to her in class and still know she’s, uh maybe, the best athlete around.”
Brenner had a match-high 14 kills to go with 11 digs and three assists. Shellsy Ashen was the Ducks main distributor on the night, finishing with 37 assists while Martenne Bettendorf and Canace Finley each contributed nine kills.
Amanda Benson continued her stellar play as a freshman libero, recording a match-high 16 digs while middle blockers Serena Warner and Ariana Williams totaled 10 kills and four blocks.
Thanks to some very shaky serving by Colorado (six service errors) and strong play by Finley and Serena Warner down the stretch, Oregon took the first set 25-21.
After trading leads for much of the set, the Ducks found themselves down 21-19 after a Colorado kill. Not quick to panic, Oregon responded with a 6-0 run that began with a Brenner kill. Finley notched two kills at points 23 and 24 and a block by Warner officially put the Buffaloes away.
Led by Brenner, Oregon won set two in come-from-behind fashion.
After trailing 8-9 early in the set, the Ducks reeled off five straight points, including two of them on Brenner kills. With the 13-9 lead, Oregon never looked back with a 23-14 lead being the largest margin. Another Brenner kill, her fifth of the set, and a Colorado hitting error finalized the score at 25-16.
Brenner continued her strong game two with the first kill of set three for a 1-0 Oregon lead.
This set was a back-and-forth affair with Colorado showing its fight and Oregon trying to stay a few points ahead. The Ducks seized control for good when a Finley kill gave Oregon an 18-16 lead. From that point forward, the Ducks slowly pulled away with Finley accounting for three more points as Oregon won 25-18.
Set three also proved to be Oregon’s best offensive set of the year. The Ducks committed only six attacking errors yet notched 22 kills out of their 25 points for a final hitting percentage of .432.
Oregon returns to action Sunday when they host Utah at 12 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.