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Oregon Volleyball Defeats Nebraska In 5 Sets

The Ducks come from behind to end the Cornhuskers’ season

Morgan L. Blackwell

Oregon Ducks volleyball overcame not only the nation’s toughest defense, but also the issues that go with starting your match at 8:00 am PT, in overcoming Nebraska, 14-25, 26-24, 22-25, 32-30, 15-11, in the first round of the Louisville regional.

The Cornhuskers entered the match with the best defense in the country, holding opponents to a .123 hitting percentage. They also ranked sixth in the nation in blocking, with 2.76 blocks per set.

Both sides played close ball early in the first set, trading points and looking for openings. During this time, Brooke Nuneviller hit a milestone with the 1,500th kill of her career.

In the middle of the set, Nebraska started pulling away with an 8-2 run to go up by eight, 11-19. Their serving game was on point, as was their attack strikes. The Huskers kills were finding floor, and the lead was exacerbated by the Ducks committing too many unforced errors to catch up. Nebraska handily won the first set by 11 points.

The Ducks started the second set on a positive note, with Mimi Colyer’s 40th ace of the season.

It was again the trading of points for both sides, and then an Oregon 3-0 run put them up 7-4. The Ducks and Huskers traded runs mid-set that found Oregon up 19-15, but Nebraska came charging back on the strength of their defense.

A 6-0 Nebraska run put the Huskers up by two, 20-22. Oregon put together a string of points, led by three kills from Brooke Nuneviller, to tie up the match at a set apiece.

Nuneviller with the kill
Morgan L. Blackwell

The third set set a tone that would prevail for the rest of the match, with two top-10 teams finding their groove and playing scrappy volleyball. When the competition is at this level, every point counts. Tied at 9-9, Oregon went on a run to take the lead and showed that they also have defense.

After Nebraska went briefly ahead, Oregon tied the set at 16-16, but the Huskers went on a 5-3 run that put them up by two. The Ducks were still fighting and battled back.

A couple of errors by Oregon allowed Nebraska to take the third set.

As they have multiple times in this late season, the Ducks had their back to the wall, having to come from behind to keep their win streak - and their season - alive.

The Huskers had the early edge in the set, but the Ducks would just not go away.

Nebraska played a clean mid-set, and a couple of aces, along with the kind of defense that wins matches, buoyed the Huskers to a three-point lead.

Oregon would NOT. GO. AWAY.

A four-point run put the Ducks up 22-20, and then at set point for Oregon it was Nebraska’s turn to not go away. The end of set four turned into a heavyweight slugfest, with Oregon holding off THREE match points. The Ducks then turned in a 4-1 run to win the set and keep their season alive.

We’ve seen this look by the opposition before. They had Oregon beat, just needed that one point, and the opponent watches it vaporize. Poof. You can see it in their eyes. You can see in the eyes of the Ducks that it’s not over until it’s over.

Morgan L. Blackwell

Nebraska was up 1-2 in the fifth set, and then Oregon fired off a 12-2 run that left the Huskers shell-shocked. Nebraska was certainly trying to find some hope in holding off five match points, but there would not be a sixth. A Kiari Robey kill extended Oregon’s season for at least one more match.

The Oregon Ducks stepped up the defense today, holding Nebraska at a .199 H%. The Ducks ended the match with .217 H%. The Huskers’ wall of blockers showed up today, with 14 blocks to Oregon’s 7.

Mimi Colyer was the kills leader en route to a double-double of 26 kills and 13 digs. Brooke Nuneviller had a double-double with 15 kills and 16 digs. Hannah Pukis also ended with a double-double, bringing 57 assists and 20 digs. Lewis Morgan stepped up with 13 kills, when Oregon needed her production the most. Georgia Murphy was the digs leader with 21.

The Ducks enter the Elite Eight against host Louisville. The Cardinals swept both of the opponents in the early rounds, and swept #4 seed Baylor in the afternoon game of their regional. Oregon has a huge task in front of them - but as they’ve shown us before, they are never out of it.

Oregon Ducks volleyball faces the #1 seed Louisville Cardinals on Saturday, 12/10/22, at 1:00 pm PT.

Morgan L. Blackwell