Jim Moore

Volleyball Recruits Hit Early Season Stride

It’s that time of year again, when the “U! OF! OHH!” chant goes on for hours inside Matthew Knight Arena. The decibel levels don’t quite match those of Autzen Stadium, but the passion of the fans and players holds its...

As Oregon volleyball falls in Sweet 16, its rising stars emerge

Oregon volleyball ended its season Friday in Minneapolis with a four-set loss to No. 7 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.

The Ducks played well enough to win but were unable to close out the early sets. The Tar Heels, who rank second in the nation in blocks per set (3.23), jumped out to a 2-0 advantage before Oregon could muster a comeback and ultimately emerged victorious 25-23, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16.

Just as it has been all season, the fourth set was Oregon’s achilles heel against North Carolina. Overall, the Ducks defeated their opponents by an average of 2.63 points per set in sets one, two, three and five. But, they were outscored by .31 in set four, which they won only half of the time.

“We fought hard, we passed, we played well in the first three sets,” Jim Moore said. “Statistically we were in front after the first three, but it’s not about the stats, it’s about the points.”

Liz Brenner posted six kills and 12 digs in her final match, good for second in Oregon history in career points (1,775.5), third in kills (1,617) and 10th in digs (1,140). She finished her legendary Oregon career with a 91-26 record.

“I loved my career at Oregon,” Brenner said. “I could not have asked for better coaches, team and staff.” Brenner is one of five seniors graduating from the program this season, alongside setter Shellsy Ashen, defensive specialist Natalie Bookout Gonzalez, and middle blockers Allie Rogers and Serena Warner.

All in all the Ducks (23-10) finished tied for fourth in the Pac-12 with an 11-9 conference record and a No. 16 nationwide ranking. Two-seed Texas defeated North Carolina in the quarterfinals and will meet unseeded BYU, the shocker of the tournament, on Dec. 18 in the Final Four. No. 1 Stanford, with the only Pac-12 run deeper than that of Oregon, advances to a Dec. 18 semifinal against five-seed Penn State.

The Ducks have established themselves as a consistent powerhouse both in the Pac-12 and country, qualifying for the national tournament in eight of ten years under Moore. Oregon will return plenty of talent its 2015 campaign, in which Martenne Bettendorf looks to extend her offensive reign. Bettendorf led the team in points (489.5) kills (440) and kills per set (3.52) and maintained a hitting percentage of .309 in 2014.

Warner and sophomore Kacey Nady also turned in dynamic statistical seasons, ranking first and second on the team with 133 (10th in Pac-12) and 93 total blocks respectively; Bettendorf finished third with 91. Both middle blockers cracked the top ten in Pac-12 hitting percentage, with Warner finishing fourth (.365) and Nady in 10th (.335).

Sophomore Amanda Benson, who spent the summer after her freshman year in China as a Pac-12 all-star, not only led the program in digs (548) but finished fourth in the Pac-12 with 4.39 digs per set.

Freshmen Maggie Scott, Frankie Shebby and Taylor Agost each made significant contributions to the Ducks’ success in 2014 and will play key roles on the team in years to come. Scott, who would “rather eat glass than lose,” led all Pac-12 freshmen with a team-leading 6.65 kills per set. Outside hitter Shebby put up 293 kills per set, third on the team only to veterans Bettendorf and Brenner, while middle blocker Agost, who battled injuries all season, came on strong with 50 kills in her last seven games.

A young team loaded with firepower, Oregon still has sufficient room for improvement from its memorable 2014 season. With the rise of Bettendorf and the development of Benson, Agost and their eight other returning members, the Ducks can and should build off this year’s success with yet another deep run and shot at the Pac-12 title in 2015.

Follow Kenny Jacoby on Twitter @kennyjacoby

Oregon volleyball opens the NCAA Tournament as the No. 10 seed

A week and a half ago, the Oregon volleyball team looked to be in prime position to be selected as one of the top-16 seeds of the upcoming NCAA tournament. One of the major benefits to being nominated as a top-16 team is that the team would be able to stay at home for the first two rounds as a host-site.

The Ducks were riding high, in the midst of a three-game winning streak, all over ranked opponents, before that came crashing down as Oregon lost its final two games. Those losses to No. 23 Utah and unranked Oregon State to end the regular season put Oregon’s shot as a top-16 seed in grave jeopardy.

“I mean I know shouldn’t (have doubted us hosting) because I was pretty sure that was it (after USC),” Moore said. “This is such a strange activity that we do, that your whole existence occurs at the end of something you do and you’re absolutely flying high or you’re just miserable.”

Luckily for the Ducks, the NCAA selection committee looked at their overall body of work and believed Oregon to be more than deserving of a host team. On Sunday evening, the Ducks found out that they were selected as the No. 10 seed, the highest ranking they’ve received all year, and would play host to Santa Clara, LSU and Oklahoma.

“The two losses (to end the season) kind of put a damper on things, but then getting ranked tenth in the NCAA Tournament, I think that’s huge,” senior Liz Brenner said. “That was the highest we’ve been ranked all year so I think we’re feeling good and ready to go.”

Oregon’s “body of work” was among one of the best in the nation as the Ducks had a rating percentage index ranking of No. 10 in the nation. The RPI is a computerized ranking that combines a team’s wins, losses and strength of schedule to determine where they rank in the nation.

Out of the Ducks’ 30 matches on the season, 15 of them came against nationally ranked opponents, while another two of them came against squads who were receiving votes for the rankings. Oregon had arguably one of the tougher second halves of any team when it played 12 out of its final 15 matches against ranked opponents, including No. 1 Stanford once and No. 3 Washington twice.

“I think our season turned on the (first) loss against Stanford,” Moore said. “We did many things wrong after that, we just panicked – to scramble through it and finish where we finished and to get the 11 wins, I think that was huge.”

For Brenner – arguably the most influential player in the history of Oregon volleyball – this is her last chance to win a national championship. She has been to the NCAA Tournament the past three years, being a part of Oregon’s 2012 run to the national championship, but Moore believes that if the Ducks are going to return to the national championship, it’s going to start and end with Brenner.

“She’s got to pass, play defense and lead – but the biggest key for her is to lead,” Moore said of Brenner. “At Hawaii, we won the first and then lost the next and we were going to lose that match, everybody was like you’re done. But Liz literally said ‘We’re not losing this match’ and that’s what we need. We need that Liz who’s going to stand up there and go ‘You’re going with me whether I have to ask you or kill you to go there.’”

For Brenner and the Ducks, the ability to play host for the first two rounds is a huge accomplishment. Not only do the Ducks get to avoid things such as airports, hotels and opposing fans, they get the huge advantage of being within their own elements and playing at an arena where they are 13-3 on the year.

“Playing at home is huge,” Brenner said. “Having our home fans – mentally that’s huge by getting to relax a bit, sleep in our bed; it’s definitely a huge advantage for us.”

Oklahoma and LSU will start off the Eugene-portion of the Regional with a 4:30 p.m. game on Thursday and be followed by the Ducks playing Santa Clara at 7 p.m. the same night. The winner of each match will then play on Friday at 4 p.m. with the right to advance to Minneapolis, Minnesota and the round of 16.

Here’s a breakdown of each team:

No. 10 Oregon (21-9, 11-9 in the Pac-12): The Ducks enter the tournament playing in what Moore calls the “the most difficult sub-region of any seed.” Offensively, the Ducks are led by Pac-12 first teamers Martenne Bettendorf and Brenner and setters Maggie Scott and Shellsy Ashen. Because of the Ducks’ depth offensively, they are able to run a 6-2 rotation and that has baffled their opponents all year long. Bettendorf leads the squad by averaging 3.67 kills per set while Brenner, freshman Frankie Shebby and senior Kacey Nady all average over 2.0 kills per set. Scott and Ashen combine to average 12.32 assists per set and have distributed the ball evenly to all hitters, including middle Serena Warner and outside hitters Taylor Agost and Naya Crittenden. Defensively, Amanda Benson is one of the best liberos in the country and leads the team with an average of 4.31 digs per set. Brenner and Chelsey Keoho combine to make a formidable backline where opponents have struggled to find the floor all year long.

“The focus has to be on the next play, it’s about the next play – and the next play is the first one against Santa Clara,” Moore said. “You have to be focused on the process and we have to enjoy the process.”

Santa Clara (22-9, 12-6 in WCC): Santa Clara enters the tournament after finishing third in the West Coast Conference. The Broncos are one of the better offensive teams in the nation by posting a .262 team hitting percentage, good enough for 22nd in the nation and are led by Nikki Hess and her 3.72 kills per set. They also are one of the best serving teams in the country, ranking third with an average of 1.83 aces per set. If Santa Clara struggles anywhere, it’s on the defensive side of the ball as it allows a .232 hit average from its’ opponents.

“Santa Clara has 1.83 aces per set,” Moore said. “That’s a lot more than Washington has and Washington is the toughest serving team, at least I thought there was, in the country.”

LSU (19-8, 14-4 in SEC): Sophomore Briana Holman is one of the best middle blockers in the nation and she is the key to LSU’s offense. Holman leads the team with an average of 3.90 kills per set and it’s her overall play that allows four other Tigers to average 1.90 kills per set. Holman doesn’t affect the game with her offensive skills; she does so with her defense by averaging 1.48 blocks per set while Haley Smith is the defensive specialist, averaging 4.35 digs per set. On the year, LSU is 1-4 against the top-25.

“LSU is very good – solid,” Moore said. “There’s a middle for them that went to China with us as a part of that USA team and she’s really good – first hand I know she’s really good.”

Oklahoma (20-10, 10-6 in Big-12): The second place team in the Big-12 might be the most dangerous threat against keeping Oregon from advancing. The Sooners seem to play their best when their opposition is very talented, as evident when Oklahoma swept No. 2 Texas earlier in the year before following in five sets four weeks ago to the Longhorns. Outside hitters Kierra Holst and Madison Ward lead the Sooners offense by each averaging over three kills per set while the offense as a whole hits at a .264 hitting percentage. Although the Sooners aren’t a very good blocking team, they do have three players averaging over two digs per set, proving that opponents have a tough time finding the floor.

“Oklahoma beat Texas,” Moore said. “That’s all you need to know about that.”

Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka

No. 13 Oregon loses first Civil War match-up since 2011

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.

Follow Kenny Jacoby on Twitter @kennyjacoby

Seniors Celebrate SoCal Sweep

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Sunday, the #14 Oregon Ducks volleyball team dispatched yet another ranked Pac-12 team in the #25 USC Trojans, completing a sweep of the LA schools in Oregon’s final home stand of the regular season. USC went down swinging, though, and it took four sets to take the match; 25-23, 23-25, 25-13, 25-22.

This Senior Day match was preceded by a ceremony honoring the four seniors of this year’s Ducks team: Natalie Bookout Gonzalez, Serena Warner, Shellsy Ashen, and Liz Brenner. All four started Sunday’s match.

The Ducks got off to a tepid start, initially going down 2-5, but rallied back behind a great defensive effort that, for the most part, characterized the entire match. Also a huge factor was the return of Martenne Bettendorf to form. Oregon gained the lead at 18-17, and held until the end of the set.

“I think she’s got it back now. She struggled a little bit there for a couple weeks, but Mar’s got it back. Great job,” said head coach Jim Moore.

The second set had Oregon start again in a bit of a hole, but they played well enough to find themselves tied at 20-20 and 22-22. The Ducks could not close out the set, however, as the Trojans stuck some timely kills.

Oregon started the third set down by a couple of points, but came back strong right away, pulling away at 18-13. The gap was too much for USC to surmount. The Ducks posted three blocks to none for USC in the third set, and held the Trojans to a .182 attacking percentage.

The final set was the most closely contested set of the day. Bettendorf and Brenner rose to the occasion on offense, and seven different Ducks contributed on digs, indicative of the defensive effort that allowed Oregon to prevail. Moore had been concerned about the matchup with USC, stating that “That’s what kind of concerned me, that we could play well and still lose this match. We played well enough to win – this is awesome.”

USC ended their day with a .207 attacking percentage, led by Samantha Bricio’s 17 kills. Taylor Whittingham led the Trojans with 27 digs.

Martenne Bettendorf led the way for the Ducks with 22 kills, followed by 11 each for Frankie Shebby and Taylor Agost. Liz Brenner scored yet another double-double with 10 kills and 16 digs. Amanda Benson was the digs leader at 21. Maggie Scott and Shellsy Ashen assisted for 27 and 24, respectively.

The Ducks close out their final home game of the regular season with a win for their seniors, and especially for star Liz Brenner, who is the unquestioned leader of this team and the face of Oregon’s recent resurgence into the top ranks in volleyball. And while there are still games to be played, the emotion of this season coming to a close is on the minds of the team, even if it is held at arm’s length.

“One thing that people have a hard time understanding – they think they’re just players that come in, they’re here for four years, etc… these kids are my daughters,” Moore said quietly. “It’s just a relationship, it’s more than four year when you put the recruiting into it and all that. I said (to the team) it’s getting hard, doing this job, because everybody leaves you. Every year these kids go away, and it gets old. I want them to stay.”

There are still two games to be played, and as the Ducks continue to win they also increase the likelihood of hosting the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“This was a huge game for us,” said Liz Brenner. “It puts us in a very good situation and hopefully we’ll be able to host that first and second round of the tournament, and that would be huge to get to play those games at home.”

Oregon closes out the regular season with games on Tuesday at Utah, and then on Friday at Oregon State.

~ Carl Blackwell
www.DuckNews.com

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14th Ranked Ducks Sweep Bruins

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe #14 Oregon Ducks defeated the #17 UCLA Bruins on Friday evening in the first of their final home games of the season, in straight sets; 25-20, 25-22, 33-31.

From start to finish, this was a close match. Earlier in the season UCLA emerged victorious in four sets, playing the Ducks at a high school due to Pauley Pavilion being closed for renovations. Friday’s match was certainly no high school experience, with Matt Court hosting a boisterous crowd of 2,346 and the majority of the Oregon Ducks marching band in the west end of the arena.

The first point of the match was a service ace by Kacey Nady, which set the tone for serving for the rest of the night. Oregon’s 10 service aces was a season high. “We served really well. We scored 19 points serving and blocking; that makes life a little easier,” said head coach Jim Moore.

The Ducks started rough from that point on, however; after going up 2-1, UCLA scored five straight on Oregon and held the lead until the Ducks battled back to a 13-13 tie. From that point the teams went back and forth until Oregon led 16-15, and led through the remainder of the first set. They were able to close out on top primarily through the kind of balanced attack that they like to play, and by keeping down the offensive production of UCLA’s Kairsta Lowe. Lowe scorched the Ducks for 33 kills at their last meeting, and Oregon knew they were going to have to defend better if they were going to come out on top in this match. Lowe scored a paltry three kills in the first set on Friday.

As explained by coach Moore, “We needed somebody to match up on Kairsta. (Starter Taylor Agost) did an awesome job. Taylor blocked some balls early on Kairsta that made us all look like we knew what we were doing…that made everybody feel better.”

Oregon was slow to get started in the second set, going down 2-5 before scratching back to a 17-17 tie. The Ducks were nothing if not tenacious, and once they gained the tie they went for UCLA’s throat to put them down two sets to none. Martenne Bettendorf was one of the stars of this second set, with all of her six kills for the set coming at crucial moments.

Oregon started slow in the third set, but fortunately they were never down more than three points. After going up 14-13, Oregon led until UCLA scored a 24-23 advantage. The Bruins were never quite able to put the game away and the Ducks would prevail, as they had all night.

“I think we did a really good job tonight; battling and attacking, just staying on it,” said senior Liz Brenner. “We didn’t really start out (all three sets) very well, so I think that says a lot about us, being able to come back and win those games.”

“It’s a big win. We did a lot of really good things tonight – I’m really happy with that,” added coach Moore.

For the Bruins, Kairsta Lowe led with 22 kills. UCLA was held to a .203 attacking percentage and seven blocks.

Martenne Bettendorf and Frankie Shebby were the kill leaders for Oregon, and each scored 12. Maggie Scott brought 21 assists and Shellsy Ashen had 19 assists, with both continuing to share setting duties. Six Ducks had six digs or more, led by Scott’s 12, as Oregon had perhaps its best defensive performance of the season. Oregon scored nine blocks to go with the 56 team digs.

“I think composure is huge, especially with a lot of young girls out there, a lot of girls that just don’t have that much experience playing. I think tonight we did a great job of holding it together and fighting through it, and the girls performed well,” noted Liz Brenner.

Oregon will play #25 USC on Sunday before closing out the season on the road at Utah and Oregon State. If they do well, they could be looking at hosting the first round of the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row. Coach Moore thinks that would be the case already, but knows that nothing is guaranteed before the fact, and the Ducks need to close out the 2014 season strong. “We want to keep going up,” he said. “I’d like to win all four (of the last games of the regular season), and we need to so that, so we need to take care of business on Sunday, then Tuesday, and Friday as well.”

Oregon plays USC on Sunday Nov. 23rd, at 11:00 am, at Matthew Knight Arena.

~ Carl Blackwell
www.DuckNews.com

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Oregon volleyball can’t close out Stanford

No. 12 Oregon couldn’t close out No. 1 Stanford as the Ducks dropped in straight sets 25-23, 25-21, 25-21 on Sunday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon (17-5, 7-5) did everything it could to stick with the Cardinal (22-0, 12-0) throughout the match, managing ties at 23-23 in the first set, 20-20 in the second and 19-19 in the third set, but Stanford showed why they are the nation’s best team.

“They’re the number one team in the nation for a reason,” head coach Jim Moore. “We played well, they beat us. They were certainly better.”

Part of Oregon’s problems came at its own hand. The Ducks committed 17 attack errors, eight of which came in the first set, giving the Cardinal plenty of room to separate during critical junctures.

“If we don’t give them the eight points in the first two sets it’s different dramatically,” Moore said. “Part of it is we’re aggressive, but you have to be aggressive and stay within yourself. We’re right there. That’s the only two things we had to be smart on: not giving them extra points and closing out the set. After 20 we have to be a lot better.”

The two heavyweights traded blows throughout the first set, with neither team earning more than a two point edge. With the score tied at 22, Stanford kicked their defense into another gear, digging out multiple good looks from Oregon’s hitters to take the first set 25-23.

The Ducks turned around and jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the first set before Stanford battled right back to take a 17-16 lead. Oregon stayed the course, trading points with the Cardinal in multiple grueling rallies before Stanford separated at 22-20 to force an Oregon timeout. The Ducks responded with a point of their own before Stanford scored three unanswered points to win the second set 25-21.

Nothing changed in the third and final set as both teams continued to trade points. With the score tied at 19-19, Stanford outscored Oregon 6-2 to win the match on a clean sweep.

Stanford’s Inky Ajanaku struggled in the first two sets, but finished strong to keep up her astronomic attack percentage. Ajanaku finished with 11 kills on a .348 average, while outside hitter Jordan Burgess added 11 kills of her own on a .371 average.

“That’s what makes them so good,” Moore said. “We focused on their middles and Jordan (Burgess) and (Morgan) Boukather go off.”

Oregon’s Martenne Bettendorf led the team with 13 kills, but Liz Brenner struggled with a season low .083 hitting average.

The Ducks’ schedule doesn’t get any easier from here on out as they’ll face No. 3 Washington on Friday night in Seattle.

Follow Josh Schlichter on Twitter @JoshSchlichter

ASU Upends #11 Ranked Ducks

photo courtesy Paul Harvey IV

photo courtesy Paul Harvey IV

The #11 Oregon Ducks volleyball team hosted the #18 Arizona State Sun Devils on Friday afternoon, and fell in five sets; 25-12, 24-26, 25-20, 24-26, 9-15.

The Ducks mustered a season low .137 attack percentage, and still had a legitimate chance to win the match in the fourth set. Instead, Oregon had few answers for the ferocious attack of ASU’s Macey Gardner. “We played very anxious. Everybody looked like they were scared to death,” said head coach Jim Moore.

Oregon recorded a season-high 12 blocks for the match, but ASU nearly doubled that with 21 blocks of their own. The Ducks’ defense played well but ultimately faltered in key stretches of sets four and five.

“Lack of discipline on the block and lack of discipline in other places, that cost us,” said Moore.

Liz Brenner and Martenne Bettendorf led the Ducks with 17 kills each. Amanda Benson led Oregon’s 88 digs with 23 of her own. Maggie Scott set for 29, and Shellsy Ashen for 26.

Macey Gardner scored 24 kills for the Sun Devils, with Bianca Arellano assisting for 43 as well as leading ASU with 23 digs.

The Ducks finish the first half of the Pac-12 portion of their schedule at 6-4, and are trying to stay near the top of the heap in with the NCAA tournament looming in the not-so-distant future.

Oregon split this week’s series with the Arizona schools, but in the Pac-12 there is no letup with another good team always around the corner. Next week the Ducks will host California on Friday, Oct 31st at 8:00 pm, and Stanford on Sunday, Nov. 2nd at 11:00 am.

The Ducks will have to look at this match and then let it go, even though coach Moore reminds us that “No loss is easy to put behind.”

   ~ Carl Blackwell
www.DuckNews.com

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No. 11 Oregon volleyball shuts out No. 15 Arizona in straight sets

No. 11 Oregon volleyball team got its defense back on track in a dominant straight set sweep over No. 15 Arizona Wednesday night at Matthew Knight Arena 25-17, 25-12, 25-19.

Oregon (15-3, 5-3) hit .295 and held Arizona (14-6, 4-4) to a .079 hitting percentage, spurring the trend of a struggling Duck defense. Since Oregon faced No. 1 Stanford last month, the Ducks allowed their opponents to hit .265, well above the .189 opponents’ hitting percentage Oregon had amassed in non-conference play. Oregon’s performance against Arizona was a step in the right direction.

“This may be the first match where everyone on the floor had a real good demeanor throughout the match,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “We didn’t have a great start, but everybody looked like they were fighting for everybody else, that’s good stuff.”

Martenne Bettendorf and Liz Brenner led the way with 11 kills each, Maggie Scott also contributed 20 assists.

Oregon and Arizona traded blows throughout the first set. Both teams were executing well on defense, leading to multiple long rallies early on. Oregon hit just .170, but held Arizona to a .021 hitting percentage. After the first media timeout, Oregon went on a 7-2 run to win the first set 25-17.

The second set was all Oregon. The Ducks led by as many as 13 points, hit .448 and held the Wildcats to .170 en route to a 25-12 set win.

Arizona played better in the third set, but the Oregon attack was too much as the Ducks finished the sweep off 25-19.

Arizona’s star hitter Madi Kingdon was a non-factor. The senior came into the match ranked No. 3 in the nation in kills with 5.28 kills per set and while Kingdon ended up with 13 kills against the Ducks, she hit just .049 percent, which is remarkably low compared to her .233 season hitting percentage.

Kingdon wasn’t the only Wildcat to struggle, as Arizona hit .079 as a team throughout the match. The Wildcats also fell victim to four aces, 22 hitting errors and five service errors.

“Arizona would be the first one to say they didn’t play very well,” Moore said. “I guarantee they’re going to play a lot better when we face them next time.”

The Ducks move from one top-25 team to the next as they’ll face No. 18 Arizona State on Friday at 4 p.m at Matthew Knight Arena.

Follow Josh Schlichter on Twitter @joshschlichter

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