Ducks Split Weekend Series

img_0191_1000x667The 20th ranked University of Oregon volleyball team settled for a split in their weekend series with the Arizona schools, falling to the Wildcats in five sets (25-27, 25-17, 25-21, 13-25, 11-15) on Friday then rebounded with a four set (25-21, 25-18, 27-29, 25-20) win over the Sun Devils on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.

With the split the Ducks season record stands at 15-6 overall and at 8-4 in the Pac-12, tied with Stanford one game behind league leaders Washington and UCLA in the conference standings.

In Friday’s opener Arizona stormed back from an early Oregon at to take a 20-17 lead. The Ducks knotted the score at 24 but the Wildcats took the set on a pair of Oregon attack errors.

Sets two and three were more to Oregon’s favor, although they were forced to beat back an Arizona rally late in the third, taking a 2-1 lead.

The fourth set was a disaster for the Ducks with the Wildcats jumping to an early 9-2 lead and never allowing the Oregon attack to get in sync.

That momentum carried Arizona through the decisive fifth set. The Ducks hit .213 for the match with Taylor Agost, Lindsey Vander Weide and Jolie Rasmussen tied for the team lead with 13 kills each.

Oregon righted the ship on Sunday against the Sun Devils with Vander Weide leading the way, recording 19 kills.

“We definitely needed that,” the sophomore outside hitter said.  “… we knew we needed to get this match today after Friday’s (loss)”.

After taking the first two sets, the Ducks “relaxed a little bit and that’s something we need to work on” in Vander Weide’s in dropping the third set.

A back-and-forth fourth set went to the Ducks thanks to a 6-1 closing run. Oregon hit .317 for the match while holding Arizona State to a .222 mark. Joining Vander Weide recording double digit kills was Rasmussen with a dozen and Willow Johnson with 10.

Attention now turns to the league leading Huskies for a Friday showdown in Seattle followed by Sunday’s match against Washington State in Pullman. Both matches will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

“The road teams have been winning a lot of matches,” said head coach Jim Moore. “We hope that will be the way it works out.”

Oregon returns to Matthew Knight Arena to host Utah and Colorado on back-to-back nights Wednesday, November 9th and Thursday, November 10th. Both matches are scheduled to start at 7:00 pm.

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Lost Weekend for Ducks

img_1297gA showdown between a pair of Pac-12 heavyweights didn’t go Oregon’s way with the Ducks falling first to UCLA if five sets (28-26, 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 9-15) on Wednesday then in four to the Trojans of USC (30-28, 22-25, 20-25, 21-25) two days later at Matthew Knight Arena.

“You get into a fifth set and it’s a coin flip,” said Oregon head coach Jim Moore. “When two teams are going at it like that … it’s a coin flip.”

Most frustrating for Moore was the 20th-ranked Bruins storming back from a 20-14 deficit to prevent the Ducks from grabbing a 2-0 stranglehold on the match.

“You have to win that [second] set,” said Moore. “You have to put people away – we’re not responding well to pressure. UCLA did a great job … they … put a lot of pressure on us.”

“That’s what you get with a young team,” allowed senior Amanda Benson. “We’ve just got to learn how to be mature and grow from that.”

Jolie Rasmussen’s 18 kills led a trio of Ducks who reached double digits and Taylor Agost posted 7 blocks to head that category.

The Bruins outhit Oregon .225 to .192.

Friday’s match with USC didn’t do much to address Moore’s concerns.

After winning the first set, the Ducks faltered down the stretch allowing the Trojans to take control of the match in the later stages of the next three sets.

“We are struggling offensively … we dug a lot of balls but I thought we played defense pretty well,” he said.

“”We are not grinding. That’s literally one of the things I was going to say. We are not grinding it out. We are not getting tough when it gets in a crucial situation. We are in a slump offensively. We have some pin hitters that basically hit zero, they’re all way down there, under .100 … you really have to grind it out and we are just not doing a very good job of that.”

Agost and freshman Ronika Stone paced the team with 12 kills each with Stone also credited with a team leading seven blocks.

The two losses drop the Ducks to 12-5 on the year and 5-3 in conference play, log jammed with six other teams one game behind the league leading Washington Huskies.

The Utah Utes are one of those teams and will be Oregon’s next opponent, hosting the Ducks in Salt Lake City on Friday. After facing Colorado on Sunday, the Ducks return to Matthew Knight to host Arizona on Friday October 28th beginning at 7:00 pm.

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16th-Ranked Ducks Split Weekend Series

img_1239gOregon’s 16th-ranked volleyball team split a pair of home matches against a pair of top-10 teams in regional rivals Washington and Washington State.

Entering the heavyweight series with an 11-game winning streak the Ducks fell to the 5th ranked Huskies 20-25, 18-25, 23-25 on Friday evening at Matthew Knight Arena.

“I think we played like we were trying to protect something,” said head coach Jim Moore. “”We were great when we decided we would play and do what we were supposed to … It looked like we were trying … not lose, so we looked like we were protecting.”

Taylor Agost and Lindsey Vander Weide led the Ducks in kills with 8 apiece while the Huskies outhit Oregon .230 to .177.

Eight service errors didn’t help the cause as Vander Weide acknowledged. “We came out nervous,” the sophomore outside hitter said. “Obviously with a team like (Washington), we have to jump on them fast. We can’t get down because they’re going to play strongly the whole match. It’s hard to come from behind.”

The lessons learned were put to quick use on Sunday with the Ducks handing the 10th ranked Cougars their first loss of the season, 25-21, 25-10, 25-14.

Moore was quick to point out the difference in his post match remarks.

“We came out attacking,” he said. “I wish we would have done that Friday night. This was a lot better; we had a lot better focus. This was a better way to approach the game. I hate to say this, but you have to learn sometime. It makes me unhappy that I’m saying that, but you have to learn lessons the hard way most of the time.”

Agost and freshman outside hitter Jolie Rasmussen with seven kills each led the attack for the Ducks who outhit Washington State .386 to .056.

“The loss was really tough, we came out really aggressive,” said Agost. “… (today) we were all over them, we just really wanted this win. The energy was high and the focus was really good and we came out and were successful.”

“We had a practice yesterday as well as a team meeting and film and we talked for about two hours and we talked for a long time which I think really helped us. Our practice was also really good, we stayed disciplined, and we came out today and I could tell during warm ups that we were really focused.”

With the split, Oregon is tied the Cougars for the conference lead with a record of 5-1 in Pac-12 play and 12-3 overall.

Conference play continues with the Ducks hosting 20th-ranked UCLA on Wednesday beginning at 7:00 pm followed by an 8:00 pm date with USC on Friday.


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Vander Weide Ties Career Mark In Ducks Sweep

img_2033gFollowing the Oregon Ducks 25-21, 25-17, 21-19 sweep of the California Bears Friday evening at Matthew Knight Arena, one might think head coach Jim Moore would have prefaced his post game remarks by recognizing a career tying 25 kills by outside hitter Lindsey Vander Weide. That was definitely not the case however.

“This is about as angry as I’ve ever been after a win,” said Moore. “I’m really disappointed in the way we came out and in the execution. Our focus was not good from the beginning and that’s really disappointing to me.”

“Obviously she (Lindsey) was awesome tonight … but I would like to see the consistency rather than someone do it all themselves. I’m disappointed in our setting. In the third set we just decided we were going to set Lindsey and we don’t do that.”

From the perspective of the Cal Bears, the Ducks were willing to go to the hot hand until the Bears could show they could stop her. Mostly they didn’t.

“My vision was better tonight,” offered the sophomore. ” … I was able to see the block a lot better, which helped me to hit around it and over it and that helped to get me to where I was.”

Vander Weide was also credited with 15 digs to give her a fifth double-double of the year as the Ducks stretched their winning streak to its ninth straight victory and fifth straight 3-zip sweep.

The Ducks out hit the Bears .361 to .183 and were never really threatened despite an early first set lead by Cal. An 11-4 run put Oregon in control of the set although Cal rallied to within a point at 21-20 before the Ducks could close out the set.

Similarly in the second set, Oregon raced to a 20-10 only to see the Bears stage a short lived rally to close within seven. A time out by Moore reasserted Oregon’s focus with Jolie Rasmussen closing out the set with a kill.

Breaking out of the gate 16-6 in the third set, Moore watched his team squander several opportunities to put an end to the match before Vander Weide turned the tide with her 25th kill after the Bears had clawed back within three points at 22-19.

Now 9-2 on the year and 2-0 in Pac-12 play, the Ducks hit the road for a pair of matches against the desert schools, starting with Arizona State on Friday, September 30 followed by Arizona on Saturday, October 1. The Ducks return to Matthew Knight Arena to host Washington on Friday, October 7th, beginning at 7:00 pm.

~ www.DuckNew.com

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Frosh Pace Ducks Past Beavers

img_1138gThe Oregon Ducks got their Pac-12 conference volleyball schedule off on the right foot with a wire-to-wire thrashing of the Oregon State Beavers 25-13, 25-21, 25-16 Thursday evening at Matthew Knight Arena.

It was the eighth straight win for the Ducks who improved their season mark to 8-2 overall. The Beavers slipped to 7-5 on the year.

Oregon raced to an 11-3 lead in the opening set with freshmen Ronika Stone and Willow Johnson providing much of the firepower.

The Beavers regrouped in the second set and stayed within striking distance until Oregon strung together an 11-1 run to take control of the set.

The Ducks completed the sweep of their arch-rivals by opening an 8-2 lead in the third set and cruising to the victory.

Stone and another frosh, Jolie Rasmussen led the Ducks with 11 kills each. Amanda Benson recorded 23 digs as the Ducks held Oregon State to a .163 hitting average.

“Thirty kills and three errors, not bad for freshmen. We knew they were good … they have confidence,” said head coach Jim Moore of his freshman. “They are where they are for a reason, they’re the players they are for a reason.”

Their enthusiasm is contagious admitted Stone. “Playing in my first Civil War was crazy. The band really got us hyped in the beginning so we were really excited to come out … (when) one of us gets a kill, we get excited for each other,” Stone said. “We are trying to bring as much energy as possible.”

Oregon continues Pac-12 play hosting California beginning at 7:00 pm on Friday.


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Seven Straight With A Sweep

img_3267gThe Oregon Ducks swept St. Mary’s 25-18, 25-17, 25-16 to claim the championship of the Nike Invitational Sunday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena.

It was the seventh straight sweep for head coach Jim Moore’s squad after dropping the opening two matches against Texas and Florida, both ranked in the top-10 nationally.

After speaking to the importance of a strong start after the Ducks’ win over 21st ranked Illinois in the tournament opener, Moore saw his team put together an impressive weekend in sweeping the field.

“They are a confident group,” he said of the quick progress they have shown. But he cautioned there is still room to improve.

“We need to be better offensively. We are getting away with some stuff because we’re real athletic. If we want to get to where we want to go, we have to be a lot better …   Our defense is pretty good but we have to find a way to sustain the level of defense and pick up our level of offense.”

Oregon outhit the Gaels .374 to .125 with freshman Jolie Rasmussen pacing the team with 15 kills. Lindsey Vander Weide added 11.

Three Ducks – Taylor Agost, Amanda Benson and Vander Weide were named to the All-Tournament team with Agost selected as the MVP .

Oregon begins conference play hosting Oregon State on Thursday, September 22nd beginning at 7:00 pm.



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Ducks Sweep Illini For 5th Straight


photo courtesy Paul W. Harvey IV

The Oregon Ducks won their fifth straight match in impressive fashion, sweeping the 21st ranked Illinois Fighting Illini 25-10, 25-18, 25-18.

The Ducks jumped on the visitors early and never faltered, putting together a season’s best outing in the eyes of head coach Jim Moore and he was quick to point out what he felt was the key.

“We just came out with a different mentality. We were really focused and ready to start. We’ve been slacking on other games, not coming out strong, so we really focused on starting fast and continuing and finishing even faster.”

And that’s pretty much what the Ducks did. Oregon posted 42 kills to Illinois’ 28, out hit the Illini .358 to .063 and served eight aces.

With Lindsey Vander Weide (11 kills) and Taylor Agost (10 kills) leading the way, the Ducks looked nothing like the team that fell victim to hesitancy and uncertainty in season opening losses to Texas and Florida.

“Our hitters were really smart tonight,” said Moore. “They didn’t make silly plays. We did a little bit early in game 1 where we pulled balls down and couldn’t see the block, where they stuffed us twice. But, we figured that out and did a good job at being smart.”

Oregon will face Belmont in the second round of the Nike Invitational at 3:00 pm on Saturday before concluding with a match against St. Mary’s on Sunday at 12:00 pm.

~ www.DuckNews.com

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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...

Ducks Take Two in Straight Sets

IMG_4935gThe Oregon Ducks put together a pair of straight set victories Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena, dropping Murray State 25-16, 25-14, 25-14 in a morning match then dispatching San Diego State in the nightcap of the Oregon Classic 25-10, 25-12, 25-20.

The wins were the first two of the season for the Ducks who dropped a pair of matches to national powers Texas and Florida to open the 2016 schedule last weekend.

It was a baptism by fire and Jim Moore’s young team took the lessons learned to heart in fashioning a pair of impressive performances.

Oregon out hit Murray State .471 to .176 and San Diego State by a margin of .366 to .020. Taylor Augost led the Ducks with 12 kills in the opener and freshman Brooke Van Sickle took the honors with eight against San Diego State.

The concluding round of the Oregon Classic is set for Saturday with San Diego State facing Murray State beginning at 3:30 with the Ducks squaring off against UC-Davis at 6:00.



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