Oregon Ducks Volleyball

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...

College Playoff Update: Destiny in the Hands of Contenders

In a week when Mississippi State and Alabama were bound to mix up the College Playoff picture, it was another contender who watched its Playoff hopes vanish among the Giant Killers. Final Four Playoff Contenders...

Liz Brenner: All-Star Duck

Liz Brenner is a singular Duck, a once-in-a-generation athlete that excels in every competition she enters. She’s an All-American volleyball player, a 6’1″ outside hitter who led the Pac-12 last year in kills. Not...

Playoff Quest/Conference Update: An early October Mass Murder, 11 Top 20 Teams Fall

Sloppy defense, Predictable Play-calls, Namaste Oregon… For now. The Arizona Wildcats gave Oregon a second half punch they just couldn’t handle. After a bye weekend, the Ducks, ironically, rebounded with their most lethargic performance...

Playoff & PAC-12 Update: Ducks jump Bama

The Classic Autzen Counter-Punch Lands Oregon at No. 2 After a early back and fourth battle, Oregon pulled away thanks to 28 unanswered points as they went on to beat the Michigan State Spartans 46-27. As reward for their signature win, the Ducks passed Alabama to secure the No. 2 rank in the latest AP poll. What does that mean? If …

Ducks Volleyball Captures Five Set Match Win Over Arizona

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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.

Naya Crittenden
Oregon’s Naya Crittenden separates two Wildcat defenders with a hit | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

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.

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Ducks Volleyball Suffers 3-1 Loss to Woeful Sun Devils

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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.

Oregon vs Arizona st. volleyball
A flock of Ducks reach high to block Arizona State’s Macey Gardner | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

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.

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Photos: Oregon volleyball – Ducks conquer Colorado Buffaloes 3-0

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.

Ducks Ariana Williams (7) smashes a ball towards Buffaloes outside hitter Kerra Schroeder (6). The Oregon Ducks play the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Oregon’s Ariana Williams (7) smashes a ball toward Buffaloes’ outside hitter Kerra Schroeder (6). The Oregon Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Buffaloes Kerra Schroeder holds off the Oregon attack during the second game of the match. The Oregon Ducks play the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Buffaloes’ Kerra Schroeder holds off the Oregon attack during the second game of the match. The Oregon Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Ducks Martenne Bettendorf (18) smashes a ball successfully past Buffalo defenders. The Oregon Ducks play the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Ducks’ Martenne Bettendorf (18) smashes a ball successfully past Buffalo defenders. The Oregon Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Ducks players Martenne Bettendorf (18) and Tatum Norton (17) sign autographs for fans after a homecoming win. The Oregon Ducks play the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Ducks players Martenne Bettendorf (18) and Tatum Norton (17) sign autographs for fans after a homecoming win. The Oregon Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Oregon coach Jim Moore cracks a smile during his post-game talk with the media. The Oregon Ducks play the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Oregon coach Jim Moore cracks a smile during his post-game talk with the media. The Oregon Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Ducks outside hitter, Martenne Bettendorf (18), talks with media after a 3-0 victory against the Buffaloes. The Oregon Ducks play the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Ducks outside hitter, Martenne Bettendorf (18), talks with media after a 3-0 victory against the Buffaloes. The Oregon Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

The Oregon Ducks play the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

The Oregon Ducks played the Colorado Buffaloes at Matthew Knight Arena on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Dominic Allen/Emerald)

Oregon Ducks Volleyball Weekend Recap: Ducks Split Series

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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 Ducks Volleyball
Oregon Ducks Volleyball | (Gary Breedlove/Eugene Daily News)

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.

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Oregon Ducks Officially Add Sand Volleyball as Women’s Varsity Sport

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Sand Volleyball
Sand Volleyball

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.

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