No. 13 Oregon volleyball will enter the NCAA tournament on a two-game losing streak after falling convincingly to rival Oregon State in four sets.
The Ducks, who lead the all-time Civil War series 69-43-1, are in the hunt for home court advantage in the postseason while Oregon State is fighting for a birth. Oregon has made seven NCAA tournament appearances in the last ten years under Jim Moore, whereas the Beavers are looking for their third in school history.
The Beavers did not win a match in the Pac-12 in 2013, but have cemented their status as one of the most improved teams in the country in their season-ending win against the Ducks on Friday in Corvallis.
The first set proved quite compelling as neither of the rival teams held a lead of more than two points. Hitters Martenne Bettendorf, Kacey Nady and Serena Warner maintained a balanced and terminating attack. The Ducks played sound and well-organized defense, although the Beavers out-blocked them.
The momentum shifted back and forth all set long, and each team turned to its impact player to close it out. Liz Brenner smashed her 1,590th career kill for Oregon to make set point at 24-23 and move herself into outright third place in school history. The Beavers responded with the equalizing kill from standout freshman Mary-Kate Marshall, who ranks seventh in the conference with 4.17 kills per set. Down 24-25, Brenner matched Oregon State’s first set point with her fourth kill, but Marshall unleashed her sixth and seventh kills in consecutive plays to clinch the 27-25 win for the Beavers.
Marshall, the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week and four-time recipient of the award, made her case for a fifth as she unloaded nine more kills in a second set controlled by Oregon State. With the score tied 9-9, Oregon conceded a 6-0 run to the Beavers, from which it never recovered. The Ducks suffered eight errors to Oregon State’s two and dropped the second set 25-18.
With the crowd overjoyed and the momentum rolling in their favor, the Beavers could just about taste their first Civil War victory since 2011. Oregon hung around to win the third set 25-21 as six Oregon players combined for 17 kills. But Oregon State utterly dismantled the Ducks in the fourth and final set, one that was difficult to watch for the attendees in green.
It was the last set on their home court for seniors Arica Nassar, Laura Schaudt and Tayla Woods, and it was a set to remember. The Beavers exploded to a 20-4 lead and jogged their way to victory, leaving Moore and the Ducks scratching their heads. Oregon posted eight errors and just eight kills en route to a 25-12 defeat, securing the 3-1 match victory for Oregon State.
Arica Nassar recorded four blocks in the set to increase the Beavers’ total to 16 on the night. Marshall led the match with 23 kills as Oregon State out-hit Oregon .297 to .174. Bettendorf trailed closely behind Marshall with 21 kills and a .319 hitting percentage.
The Ducks finish the regular season 11-9 in conference and 21-9 overall.
Oregon and Oregon State are among ten Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 50 of the RPI; both teams are expected to receive NCAA tournament bids this Sunday. A Pac-12 team has won the national championship in six of the last 13 years.
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