Facing off against California, the Ducks found themselves in a must win situation. Oregon came out strong and more than made a statement against a ranked opponent, winning in straight sets, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21.
"I'm happy to have a win, we needed it." Said coach Jim Moore after the game.
The win stretches Oregon's record to 11-0 when winning the first set. Oregon attacked well, increasing their number of kills in each set from 17 to 18 to 19 as they spent much of the match out in front of the Bears and holding off their attempts at making runs at Oregon's lead. Anchoring the Oregon defense was Amanda Benson who had a career high 24 digs in a three set match.
"The key to winning in college volleyball is not allowing runs," said Moore.
Domination was on tap as the Ducks never trailed in the first two sets and won the second going wire to wire. In the third set, California came out swinging and gave Oregon their first deficit in the match as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Oregon would settle in and continue playing their game.
Once Oregon tied the third game at 12, they wouldn't trail again as the see-saw action started to go the Ducks way en route to a third 25-21 set victory giving the Ducks the match in straight sets.
After a performance that was less than ideal for Canace Finley last night, she responded with 9 kills in Oregon's balanced attack. The Ducks saw four hitters with over 20 swings on the ball. As the kills went up each set, the errors went down as Oregon's hitting improved from .174 in the first set to .319 by the end of the third
Moore feels that the win helps their tournament hopes but is focused on the Ducks' upcoming road trip to the Rocky Mountains.
"Every win now helps. we've still got a shot at being okay, but right now it's first play against Utah," Said Moore.
None of Oregon's remaining opponents boast a record over .500 but Oregon is going to have to stay on their game and build off this win if they do hope to be in the tournament. In those games, the Ducks will play on the road against Utah and Colorado. After that it's off to Pullman to face the Cougars and close the season at home against Oregon State.
It's not outlandish to see this team make a run in the tournament, especially with Lauren Plum getting healthier each week. Despite her claims she is back to 100%, coach Moore isn't convinced she is back to full form. When she gets back to 100% she could anchor the team and truly lead them to a tournament run in what has been called a "rebuilding year." However, it all goes back to the first point against Utah.