It took a while to put away the unranked Wildcats, but Liz Brenner‘s 28 kills led No. 23 Oregon (13-9, 6-6 Pac-12) to a five-set win over Arizona.
The teams traded 25-23 set wins in sets one and two, with Arizona taking a 25-23 win in set three to take a 2-1 advantage. Oregon won 25-22 in set four and took the match with a 15-12 deciding set. As you can tell from the scores, it was a close one throughout; however, it’s impossible to have a 25-24 set win, as it’s impossible to win a set by just one point.
Oregon struggled early after taking the first set. In their two set losses, the Ducks committed 8 errors each set and saw their attack percentage drop below .200. While the team never had an exactly impressive attack (mostly created by Arizona’s 20.0 total team blocks), the Ducks outdug the Wildcats 102-87.
Led by Lauren Plum‘s 24 and libero Amanda Benson‘s 21, Brenner dug out 19 and Tatum Norton had 18.
“This is huge for us, especially winning in five sets,” Brenner said. “It’s a big confidence-builder for the younger girls because we haven’t won a game this long this year.”
Junior Brenner and senior Plum both finished with double-doubles, as Plum put up 39 assists in this one. Plum also added two kills on two attack attempts.
As tough as it was for Oregon to get set wins early, they closed out the Wildcats when it came down to the clutch. Down 2-1, the Ducks never trailed (or even tied) in the fourth set, and they only tied three times in the crucial fifth set.
Oregon travels to take on the southern California schools this week. Both should be ranked when Oregon plays them.