Side note: Last February, Ducks volleyball added Tayyiba Haneef-Park to their coaching staff. If you have not read the great profile that GoDucks.com did on Oregon’s newest coach, you owe it to yourself to spend a few minutes to get some insight on some of why Gloria Mutiri is having the kind of on-court presence - and season - that she is. You can read the story here.
Oregon Ducks volleyball played a rough road trip the past two weeks, traveling first to the Washington schools before hitting the road against the southern California schools last weekend. They had some players battling injury, most notably setter Hannah Pukis, who is still out with an undisclosed injury. In place of Pukis has been Elise Ferreira at setter. It took a little time for Ferreira to settle in, regardless of the fact that she was the starting setter last year, because of different personnel and a different scheme that the Ducks are using this season. But settle in she has - it was apparent last weekend in LA and especially so in the victory against UCLA.
The Utah Utes came to MKA having split the last 10 matches with Oregon, including winning both last season. The Ducks, however, are undefeated at home and continued that streak on this Friday night.
The Ducks came firing out of the gate, taking the first set lead on a Mimi Colyer kill. It was a lead they would not relinquish during the set. After two consecutive blocks by Kiari Robey and Gloria Mutiri, Oregon built up a five-point lead.
The Ducks increased the gap, and pulled to 15-7 with successful attacks in the middle and the second outstanding dig by Brooke Nuneviller in as many points. They pushed their lead to 10 points at 17-7 off an 8-1 run.
The Utes closed to 19-14 primarily off Oregon mistakes, but the Ducks reasserted themselves to close the set at 25-17.
The second set would see Utah adjusting and playing more competitively. In the early part of the set, Daley McClellan showed her defensive prowess with two spectacular digs in a row! (Don’t be confused by the fact that the live stream has the team scores completely wrong - Oregon went up 4-3 on this point).
Utah tied it up at 5-5 and then would pull ahead by a point or two while trading ties. Oregon inched back and tied 14-14 when Elise Ferreira sent over one of four really quick dunks on the night that caught the Utes off-guard and was a very effective weapon for the night.
Coach Ulmer talking about Elise Ferreira's kills tonight. pic.twitter.com/R30MG5M2qL— The_Badwater (@The_Badwater) October 22, 2022
The Ducks pulled ahead and Utah could not keep pace. The second of Ferreira’s dunks took the set to 21-19 and was followed by a Kiari Robey kill.
A 5-1 Oregon run put Utah away in the second set, 25-20.
The third set was a decidedly odd set. The Ducks had the edge in the early part of the set but the Utes tied the set 10-10 after a three-point run. At 11-11, Oregon’s hit percentage was a paltry .059. At 12-14 it was -.048. That was the beginning of some unfortunate, self-inflicted mistakes by the Ducks where they struggled to catch back up to Utah. Setter Elise Ferreira commented after the match that “I thought it was really evident that it was our errors (that was the main factor in loosing the set).”
Oregon did catch up and tied 23-23 after a 4 point run. They tied it again at 24, but too many errors doomed Oregon’s chance to take a sweep. Utah scored two and ended the set 24-26. Oregon ended the set with a .079 hitting percentage. That won’t win sets, and the fact that Oregon was scrapping for the win up until the very end is nothing short of miraculous.
In the fourth set, the Utes had an early lead after a 3-0 run that put them up 5-7. The Ducks responded with a 5-0 run of their own. After that, the set was all Oregon’s; the Ducks found their mojo and were not going to be denied in their house.
Mimi Colyer reasserted her attack in the fourth set. It’s a good thing that volleyballs don’t have feelings, because they would be crying every time Colyer fired off a kill:
To their credit, Utah battled and never gave up, playing hard to the last point. At match point they were still doing everything they could muster to win the point, resulting in a great rally to end the set and match.
Mimi Colyer lead all players with her double-double of 18 kills and 13 digs; however, even as she was the digs leader, this was a team effort where everyone made significant contributions. Brooke Nuneviller also had her standard double-double with 15 kills and 12 digs. Gloria Mutiri rounded out the trio of attackers with double-digit kills with 14, and lead all blockers with 6. Elise Ferreira had a fine night on the service line to go with her 54 assists.
In spite of a lackluster 3rd set, the Ducks still hit .305 on the match, and that kind of percentage will almost always lead to victory.
The Oregon Ducks remain unbeaten at home this season, and appear to be firing on all cylinders after overcoming some of the challenges that the past few weeks have presented. It’s always good to be back in Matthew Knight Arena.
Post-Match vs. Utah | @OregonVB— Oregon Video (@QuackVideo) October 22, 2022
" ." @UOCoachUlmer's Ducks hit over .300 en route to a 3-1 win to start the weekend series vs. the mountain schools.
Watch: https://t.co/GVd6ohMLPq#GoDucks x #Pac12VB pic.twitter.com/GfaIkO05O6