The Oregon Women’s Beach Volleyball team competed the Pac-12 tournament held in Tucson this week. Beach Volleyball finished 1 - 2 and ended their season after Wednesday’s action.
The Ducks came into the Pac-12 tournament at 13 - 16 overall and 3 - 8 against Pac-12 competition and having won 4 of its previous 5 matches. As this sport is in its infancy as a competitive college-level sport in some ways, a game against a Pac-12 opponent may not “count” in the Conference standings, much like Tuesday’s baseball game against the Beavers. Oregon’s Beach Volleyball team has a roster of 20 players, and games are played by 2-person teams. Matches are contested by 5 such teams for each school so final scores of regular season matches will show 5 games. In the Pac-12 tournament, matches not completed simply end if a team gains an insurmountable lead in games. Games are played to 21 points in the first two games and 11 in the third. A team must win a game by 2 points and wins a match by winning best 2 of the 3 games.
In Wednesday action, Oregon opened the double-elimination Tournament against the Utah Utes, a squad they had lost to earlier in the season 3 - 2. The Ducks rode early momentum with a 21-16/21-11 win by Madelyn LaFollette and Daley McClellan to go ahead 1 - 0. Reagan Hope and Brooke Nuneviller gave Oregon a 2 - 0 lead with a 21-10/22-20 win which put the Ducks within one match win of advancing. Utah won the third completed match to cut Oregon’s lead to 2 - 1, but Oregon came back to clinch it in the most closely contested match as the pair of Alex Laita and Bea Weaton scored an extended 26-24 first-game win, then closed out Utah by winning the second game and the match 21-17. With Oregon’s 3 - 1 lead in games now insurmountable, the final match featuring Ducks Ally Haden and Savannah Siegrist was shut down with the score tied at 1 set each and the Utes leading 7 - 4 in the third set.
Oregon moved on to round two to face the nation’s top team, the USC Trojans. Predictably, Oregon struggled to get anything going against USC’s overall excellence. Hope and Nuneviller fell 21-16/21-11, LaFollette and McClellan lost 21-12/21-8 and Haden and Siegrist lost their games 21-8/21-15, allowing USC to close out the match 3 - 0. The other two matches were suspended, with Oregon trailing in both.
Oregon’s final match was against the Cal Golden Bears which swept the Ducks in the regular season. Unhappily, Oregon’s final match of the season was similar. Laita and Wetton lost 21-13/21-17, Haden and Siegrist fell 21-12/21-12 and Ashley Schroder and Ella Tyus, seeing their first action of the day, played the closest complete match for Oregon, losing 21-16/21-17. Cal’s 3 - 0 lead ended the match. At the time, Hope and Nuneviller were leading their match and LaFollette and McClellan had split their first two sets.
Oregon set several milestones over the course of the season, including wins (14) and its first-ever win over a ranked team by beating #14 Arizona 4 - 1 early this month. Congratulations to the players and coaches!