Oregon Ducks Volleyball Media Day

Jake Tabor

How can Oregon follow up the best season in program history?

Last season, the Ducks made a captivating run to the national championship game in Louisville, before falling to Texas in the championship game but still giving Oregon their best finish in program history. Much of that came due to the efforts of National Player of the year, Alaina Bergsma. Bergsma has graduated but the cupboard is far from bare for Coach Jim Moore as the new season approaches. Oregon starts the season in the Top-10 and ranked 4th in the conference behind Stanford, USC and Washington respectively.

Although the loss of Bergsma and Libero Hailee Jacob will The Ducks return an All-American in Liz Brenner and a fellow All American and conference setter of the year Lauren Plum. Other key returners this season include the ubiquitous Liz Brenner and Canace Finley at Outside Hitter. Combined, the duo averaged more than 5 kills per game. That is likely to increase, particularly with the departure of Bergsma. "I think we have more depth, as a whole in virtually every position than we did a year ago," said Moore. The general thought from the coach is that he has one of the most physically gifted rosters he has had to date at Oregon but the pure volleyball ability and acumen the departed seniors had is going to be what makes the biggest difference.

One of Oregon's weaknesses a year ago came on the block and it appears Coach Moore has addressed that with his most recent incoming class. Moore commented, "Blocking is better, right now we're just trying to put the systems into place, everybody has to learn the defense and how to play with one another." Moore has brought in a trio of Californians and a junior college transfer from Texas, none of whom are shorter than 6'1". It's unclear who is going to be taking the middle blocker position at this time but both Coach Moore and Liz Brenner pointed to newcomers Kacey Nady and Serena Warner as potential difference makers. They will continue to battle for the middle blocker position.

Playing in the Pac-12, Oregon's schedule is already littered with Top-25 opponents but in addition to that, the Ducks will be making a pivotal road-trip to Michigan and Michigan State, both of which are ranked in the preseason Top-15. "We have a lot of new people in, they're very talented and we have a core group of people still here," added Liz Brenner "I'm very excited for this year."

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