Oregon Ducks volleyball completed their successful mountain road trip by defeating the Utah Utes today in four sets; 25-16, 22-25, 25-22, 25-18. This was today’s starting lineup:
The Utes held an early lead at 4-5, but Oregon put together an 8-3 run to jump ahead 12-8. The Ducks were able to run away with it in the first set because Utah just didn’t have a defensive answer for the Oregon hitters.
The Utes regrouped and performed much better in the second set, coming out with an early lead that the Ducks matched, 6-6; however, Utah pulled away even though Oregon attempted to catch up.
When Oregon would try to catch up, Utah would match it and then some, primarily by playeing better defense than they did in the prior set.
The Ducks gamely tried to catch up, but Utah scored points and put the second set away when it counted.
It was Oregon’s turn to regroup for a better showing in the third set, and they did exactly that:
Regardless, the Utes played the set tight, and followed that service ace with a kill to keep the set close in the early going.
The Utes lead for the majority of the mid-set, with a four-point lead, 13-17. As they did earlier against Colorado, the Ducks battled back mightily when in the hole and took the lead on a block by Brooke Nuneviller and Kiari Robey:
Another block by Robey and Gloria Mutiri basically iced the set.
Utah came within one at 22-21, but kills by Robey and Mutiri ended the Utes’ hopes of taking the third set.
The Ducks gained an early lead in the fourth set, but the Utes hung in there and took the lead, 5-6. Oregon went on a 7-1 run to pull firmly ahead, with most everyone contributing kills.
Utah did not fold and strung together a couple of runs of their own to close at 15-14.
Oregon then turned up the heat and put distance between themselves and Utah. And by heat, I mean superheated kills like this from Mimi Colyer:
Even Hannah Pukis showed the heat - AGAIN.
Utah could not keep pace and Oregon finish the match on a Karson Bacon kill.
Mimi Colyer had another standout performance, leading the Ducks with 25 kills and her .408 hitting percentage. Brooke Nuneviller notched another double-double, bringing in 14 kills and 11 digs. Hannah Pukis had an outstanding day, with a double-double of 48 assists and 10 digs, along with several impressive kills. Gloria Mutiri had double-figure kills with 10. Kiari Robey just missed double figures with 9 kills, but was also a defensive presence on the blocks. Last - and not least - Georgia Murphy was the digs leader with 16.
The Oregon Ducks are now riding a nine-game win streak and are arguably playing their best volleyball of this season. They next host the SoCal schools this coming weekend in Eugene.