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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.
Lauren Plum reached 50 assists and Liz Brenner put up a 20-kill double-double, but the stats aren’t enough when you suffer 6+ losses in the last two sets. Oregon volleyball (12-9, 5-6 Pac-12) fell to unranked Arizona State (14-9, 3-8) in a 3-1 match, 25-23—21-25—25-19—25-15.
The Ducks fought hard early, dropping a close one in set number one. They matched the Sun Devils in kills that set and actually outhit them by .070 attack percentage, committing three less errors. Oregon continued an efficient offensive output in the second set, outhitting Arizona State by .030, allowing them a 25-21 set win.
But that’s exactly when the shootout of this match began, and the Sun Devils were just more stocked on offensive weapons. Arizona State had two attackers with at least 18 kills, three double-digit killers and four with at least nine kills. And where Oregon’s attack percentage plummeted from .343 in set three to .189 in set four, Arizona State’s clip ballooned to .417 in set three and .441 in set four — committing only one error in the final, clinching set.
“(Arizona State) played very well,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “But there were a whole bunch of easily dug balls, whether that was indecision or whatever it was, we just didn’t dig them. We have been digging a bunch of those, so it was a bit of a surprise tonight.”
The evening was Brenner’s (23) fourth 20-kill match this year, as she hit .385 and only committed three of Oregon’s 16 errors. The Jesuit alumna added 14 digs to lead the Ducks with her eighth double-double.
Ariana Williams put up 13 kills to join Brenner as the lone double-digit killers for Oregon, though Canace Finley and Martenne Bettendorf put up nine each.
The match was the first time the senior setter Plum played the primary setter role for a whole match since (coincidentally) the last time Oregon and Arizona State matched up. Her replacement for the past month, Shellsy Ashen, played for part of one set of this one, and added 7 assists to Plum’s 50. Plum also chipped in 7 digs in her return to the hardwood.
Oregon takes on No. 24 Arizona on Saturday.
The Oregon Ducks took on the Colorado Buffaloes Friday night in a shut out, winning 3-0. The Ducks look to play Utah on Sunday at 12 p.m., at Matthew Knight Arena.
The No. 22 Ducks came into Sunday with a good chance at continuing momentum from two straight wins over ranked programs in the week before. Sunday, Oregon used the talents of substitute setter Shellsy Ashen to get past No. 15 Arizona State, and on Friday, Ashen’s career night (51 assists) allowed them to take down No. 23 UCLA. But the Ducks fell short of top-ranked USC on Sunday, dropping straight sets to the on-fire Trojans.
Oregon started the weekend on a positive note, as the Ducks’ triumvirate of lead attackers dominated the Bruins offensively on Friday. Canace Finley racked up 11 kills, Ariana Williams tallied 17 and Liz Brenner led the team off with 19. Brenner had a low attack percentage (.189), hurt by her nine errors, but the trio combined for a .307 mark — which is excellent for the sheer amount of kills they contributed.
The defensive performance was nearly as good, as three Ducks finished with double-digit digs: Martenne Bettendorf, Amanda Benson and Tatum Norton. Brenner added nine digs. The team outdug UCLA 67-55 which made a huge difference in the final stretch, as the Ducks were outblocked 10-5.
The Ducks fell early and lost an ugly first set to UCLA, 25-17, but came back and answered with a 25-21 second set. 25-17 and 25-23 were the final two sets in favor of Oregon, so they prevailed in front of a raucous Matthew Knight Arena crowd of 2,250, back for their first home match since dropping a four-set match to Washington.
Finley, Brenner and Williams continued the offensive output on Sunday, but the efficiency came crashing down against the stout Ladies of Troy. The usually efficient Finley saw her attack percentage dwindle to .167 as she committed 7 of the Ducks’ 25 errors.
Ashen put up 37 assists and Benson crested 20 digs, leading the team with 21. But the Trojans were simply better as they led the Ducks in every area of the game, ahead in attack percentage in all three sets — .350-.239 in the first and .423-.147 in the second. The Ducks made a charge in the third set, a 9-0 run that led them to take a 24-23 lead.
But USC scored the last three points to silence the crowd and walk away with a sweep over the eclectic 2013 Ducks.
Oregon stays at Matt Knight next weekend, as they take on the Mountain schools of the Pac-12. The Ducks will take on the Colorado Buffaloes on Friday at 7 p.m. and the Utah Utes on Sunday.
The UO athletic department announced late Friday evening that the Ducks would add sand volleyball to its slate of women’s sports.
Beginning in the next spring session, spring of 2014, sand volleyball will be the 12th Duck women’s sport and the 20th overall. The UO becomes the seventh school in the Pac-12 conference to add the fledgling sport.
It is thought to be more of an extension of the traditional court sport — with Stacy Metro, a full-time assistant on Jim Moore’s court coaching squad, taking over as the sand head coach. Metro said she played outside as an athlete and it helped her inside game.
There were 15 programs in this sport in 2012, but look to be 35 programs for this upcoming season and they need just 40 to start competing as an NCAA championship sport.
“It is no surprise to see Oregon take the lead on bringing Sand Volleyball to this part of the country,” AVCA executive director Kathy DeBoer said. “They understand the synergy between the sand and the court programs.”
Oregon joins Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC in the burgeoning sport.