As we scoot towards the start of fall athletics at UO, the majority of the focus, as usual, remains on what Football can accomplish.
However, another fall team lurking slightly under the radar could be set (pun intended) to follow up a very strong season with an even stronger one.
We’re talking, of course, about Volleyball.
In 2022 the Ducks quacked to a 23-5 regular season record (17-3 in conference) and worked their way deep into the NCAA Tournament, where they eventually succumbed to Louisville in the Elite Eight in a five-set battle.
There’s plenty of reason to believe Oregon could be on track for something similar, or perhaps even more, in 2023 given what they’re bringing back.
The Ducks lose only two players, outside hitter Brooke Nuneviller and Opposite Gloria Mutiri, to graduation, meaning they could potentially bring back 15 of the 17 players on last year’s roster.
Of the 2022 roster, five players were either redshirt or true freshmen, which generally indicates that further growth at the respective positions will ensue.
There was no more impactful player than outside hitter Mimi Colyer, who was the Pac-12 and National Freshman of the Year as well as a member of the all-conference team.
Colyer compiled double-digit kills in 30 of the 32 matches she played in, including 29 kills in a bout against USC in November. In the NCAA regional semifinal, she went off for 26 kills and 13 digs against Nebraska.
Oregon returns some length too, with seven players standing over 6-feet.
All things considered, it’s looking quite likely that we could see another highly impressive season with perhaps a run all the way to the Final Four.