Oregon Ducks volleyball played in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge in Minneapolis on Friday and Saturday. The level of competition was ratcheted up over who the Ducks have faced thus far, and while Oregon showed that they can play competitively against top-ranked talent they were not quite able to covert that into match wins.
The Ducks battled #3 Minnesota on Friday. You can read ATQ’s recap of the match here, by adamh86.
Oregon played well against #20 Penn St. on Saturday, but ultimately fell in five sets, 21-25, 25-15, 19-25, 25-23, 9-15.
In the first set, the Ducks started a bit slow. As they had the night before against Minnesota, Oregon fell behind, and while they we able to tie mid-set a couple of times, they never led.
The Ducks started stronger in the 2nd, and were helped by successive Nittany attack errors in gaining a nine-point lead at 16-7. They kept up the pressure, going up 20-10 on a Brooke Nuneviller kill. A kill by Colby Neal ended the set, keeping the 10-point lead intact.
Oregon lead early in the third set, but Penn St. surpassed the Ducks mid-set when they notched five points in a row to go up 15-12. It wasn’t any one factor contributing to the run, as they scored on kills, attack errors, and a service ace. Oregon was able to pull to within two at 17-19, but the Nittany Lions buckled down for another four-point run that the Ducks would not be able to surmount.
In the fourth set, the Ducks broke ahead early on the strength of a five-point run to go up 7-2. That lead generally held until until mid-set, when Penn St. claimed the lead after a six-point run at 18-17. Oregon responded with a three-point and a two-point run that would win the game and set up the rubber match.
Oregon fell flat in the 5th set, starting the set in a 0-3 hole. They were able to battle back to within one point, but Penn St. ended the match decisively with a four-point run.
Here are your Ducks volleyball team leaders:
RECAP | No. 18 Ducks force a fifth set but fall in five to No. 20 Penn State on Saturday.— Oregon Volleyball (@OregonVB) September 11, 2022
Pukis: 47 assists, 13 digs
Nuneviller: 16 kills, 16 digs
Mutiri: 12 kills, .444 pct
Neal: nine kills, seven blocks
Murphy: 19 digs, five assists#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/0qWYibGwM2
Penn State and Oregon were evenly match for this contest, and the game statistics bear that out. What allowed the Nittany Lions to prevail in this game was that they blocked when they needed to, and out-blocked Oregon 17-9. Penn St. also lead in team hitting percentage, .226 to .184.
Oregon has some time to lick their wounds before hitting the road again, as they next travel to the Hurricane Invitational in Florida. There they will face South Carolina and then host Miami. These should be quite winnable games for the Ducks, with Miami hovering in the middle of the ACC standings and SC placing the same in the SEC standings.