Volleyball drops second straight Pac-12 battle

Although the Oregon volleyball team had a week off from competition, the result was the same as the last time they took the floor.

After suffering a four-set loss last Friday against the No. 2 Washington Huskies, the Ducks fell in another four sets to the Arizona Wildcats.

Once again, Oregon lost the first two sets (25-22, 25-23) of the match before winning the third set (25-20) to force a fourth and — potentially — fifth set. The final set would never come as Arizona defeated Oregon 25-22 in the fourth set to pull out the victory.

Liz Brenner continued to show why she was selected as a preseason All-American, accounting for 22 kills and 20 digs, all team highs. In her last two games, Brenner has accounted for 45 kills and for the season, she has a grand total of 167. Her 20 digs were the most she’s had in a game this season and tied her career-high from a match last year against the Huskies.

Sets one and two were very similar with each team trading leads, none coming by more than four points in the sets. The difference proved to be Arizona’s defense against Oregon’s offense. Widely considered one of the best defensive teams in the nation, tied for 17th in the country with 16.82 digs per set, Arizona used their talents to consistently dig out hard hit balls by Oregon’s Brenner, Martenne Bettendorf (15 kills) and Ariana Williams (10 kills).

Not only did the Wildcats find a way to neutralize Oregon’s offensive game, the Ducks seemed to psych themselves out, committing 15 attacking errors in the first two sets.

Set three went Oregon’s way as the Ducks were able to pull out the back-and-forth contest. Oregon was able to take the set largely because they committed only five hitting errors compared to the 10 by the Wildcats.

The Ducks came out firing on all cylinders, hoping to force a final fifth set, by starting the set with a 10-5 lead. It was short-lived as Arizona responded with an 8-2 run to take the lead. It was all the Wildcats needed as they kept that momentum and eventually ended the match.

Oregon setter Lauren Plum dished out 32 assists while Shellsy Ashen added 20 more. The Wildcats were led by Madi Kingdon with 24 kills and Penina Snuka with 46 assists.

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