The Oregon Ducks traveled north to take on the Oregon State Beavers, and won their Pac-12 opener in a robust match in front of 2,729 in attendance. The Ducks topped OSU in four sets - 25-21, 19-25, 25-19, 25-20.
Oregon State’s play was solid, given that the entire team (except for one player) was composed of freshmen and sophomores.
Here was tonight’s starting lineup:
Oregon finished strong in the first set largely riding on the hot hand of Brooke Nuneviller. Nuneviller recorded 8 kills and one solo block in the first set. This point came after The Ducks would build up three-point leads, only to have OSU scrap back into ties. Nuneviller then took over the set:
The Ducks were then down a point at 15-16, but a pair of four-point runs put set #1 out of the reach of the Beavers. One of many great rallies in this match ended the set.
Oregon has shown a pattern of falling off and dropping second sets, and tonight was no exception. They were partly hampered by an OSU that started blocking more effectively, but the Beavers were also attacking more effectively than the Ducks. In the first set, Oregon’s attack percentage as .310 but dropped off to a paltry .103 in the second set.
Sets 3 and 4 were nearly identical in that Oregon built up early leads that the Beavers would pare down, only to be denied with a strong Ducks push in the last quarter of each set. And while OSU had some convincing kills, it was their uncanny ability to dig seemingly impossible shots that kept them in this entire match. To be sure, Oregon had its fair share of great defensive play, but seeing this plucky young Beavers team keep the ball in play was very impressive.
Mimi Colyer was not-so-quietly racking up kills from the second set on, but blocker Regan Hope was also making her presence felt:
Gloria Mutiri also delivered a smattering of wicked kills. Here she delivers her 500th kill as a Duck:
Oregon’s attack percentage was also very similar in the 3rd and 4th sets, at .393 and .333, respectively. In those sets, OSU could only muster attack percentages of .097 and .179.
Match point came from (appropriately) a Brooke Nuneviller kill to send Oregon back to Eugene.
Nuneviller picked up yet another double-double, co-leading the Ducks with 16 kills but also contributing mightily to Oregon’s defensive effort with 14 digs. Libero Georgia Murphy lead all Ducks with 19 digs. Mimi Colyer also shared the kills lead in this match with 16 kills. Setter Hannah Pukis again was stellar in this match and almost always had the ball where it should be. Pukis ended her night with a double-double of her own - 47 assists and 10 digs.
Oregon’s team attacking percentage for the night was .275, and OSU ended with .183. The Ducks had over twice the blocks of the Beavers at 16-7, and did well serving with 4 aces to OSU’s 1.
While it was nice to get that first Pac-12 win out of the way, the Ducks have their work cut out for them on Sunday, when they host the #5 Stanford Cardinal in MKA. They’ve shown they can play with the top teams, but Oregon will need to play virtually flawlessly to get the victory on Sunday.