The #7 Oregon Ducks squeaked out a sweep of the Utah Utes on Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena, 26-24, 29-27, 25-12.
The bad news from Friday’s match against the unranked Utah Utes is that the Oregon Ducks are still starting matches slowly. The good news is that in the second set, Oregon overcame four Utah set points to win the set, so the Ducks are perhaps showing better resiliency in close sets than earlier in the season.
Oregon opened the first set with three straight points, but fell off a bit after that, allowing the Utes to catch up and take a lead going into mid-set. This was a function more of what Oregon was not doing, rather than what Utah was doing. In this first set, the Ducks were not defensively as sharp as they have been to this point in the season.
The Utes serve well and scored six of their nine aces of the match in the first set. Said head coach Matt Ulmer after the game, “I thought Utah served us really aggressive(ly). I thought they had us on our heels a lot - that was a lot of points in serve and pass early to keep those first two sets closer than we would have liked.”
Still, Oregon hung tough and the sides jockeyed to surmount the continual ties in the set.
Tied at 24-24, the Ducks were able to pick up a block from the tandem of Mimi Colyer and Kara McGhee, followed by a Morgan Lewis kill to take the set.
The second set started with the Utes firing off a pair of kills to take a 2-1 lead, before Oregon rattled off an 8-0 to a 9-2 lead. Utah did not falter, however, and battled back into the match.
The Ducks had to overcome some of the difficulties that they experienced in the first set as the Utes went on a 4-0 run to take a three point lead, 17-20.
At 21-24, the Ducks had a 4-0 run of their own, and held off three set points before serving for the Oregon set point. It was Utah’s turn to hold off set point and take a 26-25 lead, pushing the Ducks against the wall with set point again. A Utes service error killed Utah’s attempts to win the set, and the Oregon 4-1 run won a tightly contested second set for the Ducks, capped by a Mimi Colyer kill and service ace.
Oregon made some adjustments in the third set and fixed what was ailing them, storming out to a 10-2 lead. Utah ran out of gas and was never in the set.
Oregon’s firepower was just too much and all of their hitters were getting in on the action, but it was defense that closed the set and match.
Utah had a tough night offensively with a hitting percentage of only .079, led by Kamryn Gibaldo’s seven kill. The Utes had five blocks on the night.
Oregon hit .259 for the match, led by 12 kills from Mimi Colyer and 11 kills from Morgan Lewis. Coach Ulmer commented after the game that “Mimi looked very good tonight. I liked her decision making. Even her misses I thought were proper misses.”
Gabby Gonzales, Karson Bacon, and Kara McGhee were all active offensively with seven kills each.
Hannah Pukis had another double-double with 33 assists and 10 digs. Georgia Murphy was the digs leader with 11.
Head coach Matt Ulmer had this to say after the game:
Morgan Lewis and Karson Bacon also added these comments:
Today at 12:00 pm PT, Oregon volleyball (20-4, 10-3 Pac-12) hosts the Colorado Buffaloes (14-10, 6-7 Pac-12) in MKA. The game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.