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Oregon Volleyball Prevails Over Arkansas

The Ducks went undefeated at Matthew Knight Arena this season

Morgan L. Blackwell

Oregon Ducks volleyball defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in four sets, 19-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-9.

The Ducks played point-for-point in the early first set, and then Arkansas pulled ahead with a 9-1 run. The Razorbacks have great outside hitters and they also block very well, and Oregon struggled initially with that.

Said head coach Matt Ulmer after the match, “Their outsides are excellent. They have two very good lefts. I thought Gloria (Mutiri) started touching a lot of things and got in their head. I thought that we were not very good in the first set and then we started to figure it out.”

The Ducks pulled to within five but could not come closer than that. They were definitely off in the first set and hit for .000 in the first.

Mimi Colyer especially struggled in the first set, but pushed through it and played with renewed confidence for the rest of the match.

#10 Georgia Murphy
Morgan L. Blackwell

Oregon and Arkansas played neck-and-neck in the early going of the second set, but it never seemed like the second set was going to be a repeat of the first, despite the excellent play of the Razorbacks.

The Ducks pulled ahead with a 9-0 run, and that left Arkansas in the dust.

Brooke Nuneviller put the team on her shoulders and was an integral component of the Ducks’ surge.

#5 Brooke Nuneviller
Morgan L. Blackwell

Arkansas bounced back, but could not close the gap and the Ducks took the second set.

In the third set, the Razorbacks surged forward with a 0-5 lead off of very good serving, having put down a pair of service aces in the early set. Their kills were also finding the floor.

Tied at 10 apiece, Oregon pulled ahead with another game of excellent blocking from starter Colby Neal.

A 7-1 surge put the Ducks up 15-11, but a 4-0 Arkansas run tied the set at 15.

At this point of the match Mimi Colyer had found her groove, and Oregon’s attack and defense was too much for the Razorbacks to overcome.

Morgan L. Blackwell

Oregon came out with a full head of steam in the fourth set, confronting Arkansas with the hopeless task of trying to bounce back from an 11-1 run. That was not going to happen with the Ducks putting on a powerhouse display to finish off the Razorbacks.

The final set could not have been more of a departure from the first, with the Ducks hitting an astounding .613 percent.

Oregon was again superb on the service line, with 5 aces against only 6 service errors.

In her final match at MKA, Brooke Nuneviller was - fittingly - the kills leader with 19. In spite of some initial struggles, Freshman of the Year Mimi Colyer ended with a double-double of 15 kills and 10 digs. Kiari Robey notched 7 kills and Gloria Mutiri brought home 6 kills.

Morgan L. Blackwell

The Ducks blocking was spot on, and essential to the win, with a total of 15 blocks to 8 for the Razorbacks. Kiari Robey was in on 7 blocks, and Colby Neal contributed 5.

Morgan L. Blackwell

Hannah Pukis also brought a double-double with 42 assists and 12 digs. Georgia Murphy had an outstanding game and was the digs leader with 19.

Oregon Ducks volleyball is done in Eugene, but is still in this tournament and will next travel to the Louisville Regional. They next face the #2 seeded Nebraska Cornhuskers, who knocked them out of the 2018 tournament.

Nuneviller for the kill
Morgan L. Blackwell

This was an emotional win for the seniors, but especially for Brooke Nuneviller, who is looking to end her Oregon career on a very high note. As she said after the game, “The fourth set I definitely took a deep breath, listening to all the students cheer, and the community coming in, and just taking in everything that Eugene has brought this year. Definitely had to hold it in a little bit in the fourth. But I went up to Glo, I think set point, and I was like, ‘Let’s go, let’s finish.’ And so, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish.”

Oregon Ducks volleyball faces the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Thursday, 12/8/22, at 11:00 am PT. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Morgan L. Blackwell