Oregon’s (16-2, 6-1 Pac-12) first contest of the weekend was against the Arizona Wildcats (6-12, 1-6 Pac-12) on Friday night. Arizona was tied for 9th place in the Pac-12 standings with UCLA and California...which is to say they could be tied for 11th place.
As has been their habit this season. the Ducks started the match somewhat cold before they got into a groove. An example: setter Hannah Pukis had two net violations in the first set, and I do not recall her having any net violations prior in any set. It was just that kind of set 1.
Arizona led for a good portion of the first set, and late into the set Oregon found their groove. Regardless, the Wildcats are very good on defense, and their defensive abilities were on display all night. A highlight of the first set was the longest rally that I think I’ve ever seen in a volleyball match, and it was made even better by resulting in an Oregon point.
Arizona hit some runs and had the lead several times in the first set, but that was more the result of Oregon errors and problems in the serve/receive game than anything else. The Ducks were able to hold their composure through that and won the first set, 26-24.
At the end of the first set, the sleeping giant that is Oregon volleyball was awakened, and the Ducks totally crushed the Wildcats in the second set, 25-8. It was in this set (and the third) that Mimi Colyer came to life on the attack, giving Arizona no hope of being competitive in the set.
Early in the third set, the Ducks stumbled a bit, allowing the Wildcats to get an early. An 8-0 Oregon run put the Ducks up 13-8, and Oregon did not look back in cruising to a 25-15 set win, sweeping the night’s match.
After getting out of their own way, Oregon was outstanding on Friday, holding Arizona to a hit percentage of .074, while crushing it for .333 hitting on the night. The Ducks had 8 blocks to 1 for the Wildcats.
Mimi Colyer was in fine form, and hitting much better than she has at points during the season. Colyer led the Ducks with 14 kills on .367 hitting. Gabby Gonzales had 12 kills on .478 hitting, and just missed a double-double with 9 digs. Hannah Pukis was the assists leader with 36, and Georgia Murphy led the defense with 17 digs.
Oregon faces #19 Arizona State today at 12:00 pm PT in MKA. The Sun Devils suffered a surprising loss to last-place Oregon State on Friday (which was the Beavers’ first Pac-12 win of the season). Expect a much more competitive match from ASU today; this is a match that could go to five sets. The match will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
Head coach Matt Ulmer had this to say after the match:
Mimi Colyer and Georgia Murphy added these thoughts: