The athletic year is really starting to get going, and the volleyball team, for the second year in a row, opened the season with some noise in Big Ten country. Here is the nonrevenue spotlight:
Volleyball -- Volleyball traveled to Columbus, Ohio and opened the season with a big sweep, taking out Toledo and Houston 3-0 and 3-0, before a come from behind 3-2 victory over #24 Ohio State. The Buckeyes won the first two sets, 25-14 and 25-21, but the Ducks came roaring back taking the last three sets 25-14, 26-24, and 15-10. The win is the second big early season victory in Big Ten country for the Ducks in as many seasons, after breaking Penn State's 94 match home winning streak to open last year. Said Coach Jim Moore on the win:
"This was an important test for out team in a lot of ways," Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. "We didn't have control of our emotions early, and it showed, and Ohio State took advantage. Once we managed ourselves better and pulled together we showed what we can do. This was a team win - I don't know if I've every played 15 players in a five-set win - and everybody contributed."
Alaina Bergsma was named the tournament MVP, and middle blocker Ariana Williams was also on the all-tournament team.
The Ducks stay in the midwest for the Ohio University tournament next weekend, where they will take on Western Carolina, Ohio, and #13 Kentucky.
It seems as if the Pilot game was over pretty early, and Portland scored a goal three minutes into the game, and the Ducks seemed shaken by the atmosphere, where soccer is the biggest sport on campus:
A crowd of 4,912 filled the stands at Merlo Field, and a spirited student section of 1,575 made for a rough environment for the Ducks.
"Obviously it's disappointing getting the loss after playing such a hard fought match," said head coach Tara Erickson. "I thought that we came out a little flat and maybe a little awe-struck, but I think we settled into the game right after we gave up the first goal and that's unfortunate because it would have been a little bit of a different match. You saw us pushing for the remaining 88 minutes of the game."
That said, a lot of schools are going to lose to Portland, and it doesn't hurt too much if the Ducks can come back from it. They made a good step toward that with the Portland State victory:
"PSU came out and played very hard and very aggressively," said head coach Tara Erickson. "We absorbed some of that pressure and also played aggressively and did a good job to match the intensity of their physical play. We settled the game down a little bit and started moving the ball and passing a little better."
Freshman forward Kristen Parr had the lone goal for Oregon, and she now has all three of the Ducks' goals on the season. It was a physical match, with 26 total fouls being committed.
The Ducks return home to Pape Field on Friday for a 7:00 contest with UC-Irvine. UCI is 1-3 on the season, having lost at home to BYU, Texas A&M, and Loyola Marymount, but getting a victory against Auburn. It should be a very winnable match for the Ducks.
Women's Basketball -- The women's basketball team began a ten-day, four game foreign tour in Spain, and opened that up with a pair of victories against Club Estudiantes in Madrid. I'm not going to get into stats, because these foreign clubs are pretty low level basketball compared to even good American college clubs, but it gives the team a chance to play some real competition and gel, and the fact that Oregon is winning with ease is a very good sign.
Lots of good things happening with our fall sporting teams. Once some of these teams starting getting some home games soon, we'll see the TV broadcasts starting to pop up. GO DUCKS!