What to know in Oregon fall sports

With the 2015 athletic season underway and seven Oregon teams in action, there’s no shortage when it comes to sports.

Although some Oregon fans might think the world is over after the football team’s blowout loss Saturday night, there’s still plenty of optimism to be had regarding other sports.

Here’s a breakdown of each fall sport and its national ranking:

Football (2-2, 0-1 in Pac-12): Entering the fifth week of the season, the Ducks are in very unfamiliar territory. Oregon is 2-2 and has yet to win a game against a Power Five conference. The quarterback situation is extremely murky because there seems to be no answer between Vernon Adams Jr. and Jeff Lockie. Both have played and both have struggled more than succeeded. Defensively, DeForest Buckner has been a terror on the defensive line but the secondary is having coverage and tackling issues. The season is far from over but the Ducks must regroup before the schedule ramps up in the middle of October.

No. 18 Volleyball (7-4, 1-1 in Pac-12): The Ducks have yet to play a home game this year, starting with 11 straight games on the road. Oregon began the season with nine games over 12 days that spanned four different states. Senior Martenne Bettendorf, sophomore Taylor Agost and freshman Lindsey Vander Weide have led Oregon’s offensive attack on the outside while junior Kacey Nady and freshman Lauren Page hold down the middle. Vander Weide notched 25 kills in her first Pac-12 game last week against Oregon State. Junior libero Amanda Benson and senior defensive specialist Chelsey Keoho anchor the defense.

Women’s Soccer (3-6, 0-1 in Pac-12): It’s been a rough preseason for the Ducks but they seemed to have turned the tide with their most recent efforts. After securing back-to-back wins over Air Force and Portland State, Oregon opened up Pac-12 play with a 1-0 loss to UCLA in Los Angeles. Even though it was a loss, it was a much better result than last year’s 5-0 thrashing. Head coach Kat Mertz has her team playing good defense, allowing eight goals thus far. The offense has only scored six goals, all coming from different players.

No. 6 Men’s Cross Country: The men of Oregon began their season with a resounding victory in the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Pre’s Trail at Alton Baker Park in Eugene on Sept. 11. Oregon’s top five runners took places 1 through 5 for 15 points, good enough for a 31-point victory over second-place Gonzaga. Edward Cheserek won his ninth race in his last 10 attempts. Oregon’s second through fifth place runners all finished within one second of Cheserek, showing the Ducks’ tremendous depth.

No. 7 Women’s Cross Country: Just like the men, the women started out their season with a victory in the Bill Dellinger Invitational on Sept. 11. Oregon, led by Alli Cash and Waverly Neer, battled Gonzaga for much of the race, but the depth of the Ducks eventually wore down the Bulldogs for 23 points and the win. Oregon was running short-handed as veteran runners Molly Grabill, Annie Leblanc and Maggie Schmaedick didn’t participate.

No. 12 Men’s Golf: The Ducks have participated in one tournament this year and they emerged with a tie for first place with rival Washington. At the Husky Invitational, Oregon sat in a tie for second place after the first two rounds, but a 2-under showing on the final day pushed the Ducks to the top. Sulman Raza finished fifth overall with a 1-over (214) while Thomas Lim saved his best for last. Lim shot a 2-under on the final day to help him finish seventh with a 3-over (216) for the tourney.

No. 23 Women’s Golf: The women have played in two tournaments thus far. After taking sixth place in the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in New Mexico, the Ducks finished third in the East-West Match Play in Wisconsin on Sept. 20. Oregon then had two match play efforts and won both matches. The Ducks defeated Michigan 4-1 on Sept. 21 then beat Colorado 3-2 the next day. Senior Caroline Inglis continues to be Oregon’s No. 1 player while Kathleen Scavo and Petra Salko provide depth for the Ducks.

Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka

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