Oregon Volleyball Advances to First-Ever Elite Eight With 3-1 Defeat of BYU

Dominic Vieira

The Ducks will face the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 3:30 after beating the Cougars 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 25-12.

Jim Moore's record-setting Oregon volleyball team can add another notch to their impressive list of achievements: Advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

Sophomore Liz Brenner led the Ducks with a season-high 26 kills – one of four Oregon players with double-digit kills on the afternoon. Senior Alaina Bergsma backed up Brenner's efforts with 17 kills, and Ariana Williams and Kat Fischer checked in with 13 and 12, respectively.

Oregon took the first two sets of the match 25-23 and 25-21, despite BYU having a better attack percentage over those first two sets. The Ducks were able to take advantage of excellent serving on the afternoon – five separate players recorded a service ace in the match – and some crucial BYU errors late in those games to take a commanding 2-0 lead into the break.

The Cougars came out determined in the third set, refusing to be Oregon's third consecutive sweep of the NCAA tournament. BYU held Oregon to a .233 mark for the third set – their lowest of the match – and took some momentum into the fourth set off of a 25-22 set victory.

The Ducks responded by coming out on fire in the fourth and final set, muscling their way to an early lead and forcing the Cougars to use their final timeout down 18-10 in the set. Driving the spirited charge for Oregon was its defense, led by senior Haley Jacob who had 24 digs on the match. She received plenty of help from her teammates, as four other Ducks had at least 10 digs against BYU.

Oregon will now watch and wait as their possible opponents play to decide who faces the Ducks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA tournament tomorrow afternoon. Washington has played Oregon twice this season, splitting the two matches with the Ducks, while Nebraska is the #4 overall seed and has home-court advantage in Omaha.

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