Oregon Ducks volleyball fought valiantly, but could not overcome early mistakes in losing in five sets, 20-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 12-15.
To their credit, Oregon looked like they were going to be swept after the first two sets, but they battled back and made a match of it.
Hannah Pukis was not with the Oregon volleyball team, and it showed. Again, I’m not throwing Elise Ferreira under the bus; she performs well as a setter. But the setter in volleyball is akin to the quarterback in football - they are the field general and control the flow of play. The Oregon Ducks have had okay QBs, good QBs, and great QBs. Hannah Pukis is a great setter, and the Ducks sorely missed her this weekend.
I will say what I’ve said in podcasts - service errors drive me more than a little crazy. I know the server is negotiating placement and all that, but if there’s an error then you just gifted the opponent a point and likely let all the air out of whatever momentum you had in place. THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY. Unforced errors of the worst sort. Oregon committed 15 service errors. It doesn’t matter that the other team did the same; you gifted 15 points in a close match to the other side. You have a big box to place a serve and you failed. Drives me crazy.
As much as I was not impressed with Elise Ferreira’s play in the first two sets, I was totally impressed in sets three and four. Ferreira found a groove, placed balls well, and that combined with a magnificent defensive effort is why Oregon brought this match to a fifth set. Elise Ferreira also served well, and in a match where service errors were a bother, Ferreira was not a contributor.
Washington is an excellent team; however, the Ducks had a chance to win this and fell just short. The Ducks are not a team that should drop very much in the rankings; this was always going to be a tought road trip, and Oregon played valiantly.
Oregon was on a tear in the fourth set, but could not overcome self-inflicted wounds in the fifth set. While they rallied impressively, they could not rise from the hole that they dug for themselves.
Orefon Ducks volleyball really is better than this weekend showed. This is still a legitimate team to go deep in the NCAA tournament. They were hampered without the presence of their star setter, but this season is not over by any means.