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Oregon Volleyball Sweeps #5 Stanford

Ducks prevail in their Pac-12 home opener

Morgan L. Blackwell

The Oregon Ducks picked up their third straight win, and their first ever home sweep, against the Stanford Cardinal, 25-19, 27-25, 25-17, in front of a boisterous crown of 4,458 in MKA today.

Oregon established a strong pace early. The Ducks got out to an early lead with well-placed kills from a number of players, especially off the right side where it appeared that Stanford was having some initial defensive issues. The Cardinal picked it up and gained the lead at 5-6, when the Ducks took over and built a firm cushion against Stanford.

On defense, Oregon showed a strong motif that would be present the entire match; that is, a defensive effort that never let up. Ahead or behind, the Ducks were outstanding on defense for this match.

After Oregon had built a six-point lead at 19-13, the Cardinal were powerless to bridge the difference and dropped the first set.

It has been a nagging pattern of the Ducks to fall behind in their second set against good teams, where they have prevailed in the first set, and then not be able to pick their game up. Today’s second set started to follow that pattern. Down six points at 5-11, Oregon battled back - again, buttressed by great defensive blocks and digs - and closed the gap.

The Ducks could not quite close and Stanford held the first set point opportunity at 21-24. A Cardinal attack error brought them to the second set point, where a Colby Neal kill kept Oregon in the game, 23-24. albeit still at set point.

Amazingly, the Ducks fought off three set points and took six of the next seven to rally impressively and win the set.

The crowd was deafening and blood was in the air. Could a sweep of Stanford be possible?

In the third set, Stanford settled down a bit and had an early lead at 5-6. After all, this is a very good volleyball team that was going toe-to-toe with a very good Oregon team. However, that was going to be Stanford’s last gasp. Hannah Pukis put the ball where it needed to be, and Brooke Nuneviller, Mimi Colyer, Gloria Mutiri, and Colby Neal were all fed kills by Oregon’s outstanding setter, building up an eight point lead at 18-10 from which the Cardinal would not recover.

After a set and a half, the teams were statistically quite even. In controlling the last set and a half, however, Oregon pulled away in some key categories in securing the sweep. Oregon’s match attack percentage was .327 to Stanford’s .250. The kill percentage was .430 to .362.

Oregon’s fantastic defensive effort was reflected in their 55 digs to the Cardinal’s 47, and the Ducks won the blocking battle 7 to 4.

Stanford’s serving betrayed them on this game. They committed 13 service errors to Oregon’s six, and nearly all of them happened at the worst time - the Cardinal would be mounting a comeback or trying to keep a lead, and a service error would deflate that momentum.

Mimi Colyer had a great game on both sides of the ball, which was reflected in her double-double of 15 kills and 10 digs. Brooke Nuneviller did the same, also notching a double-double with 14 kills and 14 digs. Hannah Pukis just missed a double-double with 35 assists and 9 digs.

Oregon suffered some tough losses in a very challenging non-conference schedule, but also earned impressive victories on the road. Their losses to Minnesota and Penn State were not “bad” losses. Instead, the Ducks appear to have learned some lessons that should serve them well in Pac-12 and post-season play. If this match against Stanford is any indicator, Oregon is well-poised to go head-to-head in one of the better volleyball conferences in the nation.

Oregon Ducks volleyball next defends MKA this coming weekend. They host Arizona State on Friday, 9/30/22 at 6 pm PT, and Arizona on Sunday, 10/2/22 at 12 pm PT.

As of this time, these games are not scheduled to be televised.