clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Oregon Volleyball Gets A Weekend Split

ATQ-EXCLUSIVE Volleyball Morgan L. Blackwell

Oregon Ducks volleyball traveled to Palo Alto over the weekend, taking part in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, where they matched up against a couple of top-15 teams in Minnesota and Ohio State.

#10 Minnesota

The Ducks faced #10 Minnesota on Friday. Last year, Oregon took their unbeaten streak to Minneapolis and lost to Minnesota in four sets. The Golden Gophers are a perennial powerhouse that have only failed to reach the NCAA tournament once since 1999 (that was in 2014).

This year the teams were neck-and-neck, battling to five sets, with the Ducks dropping the contest 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 14-16.

Oregon had an early lead in the first set, but Minnesota tied it up in the middle of the set before embarking on an 8-2 run to go ahead 13-19. The Ducks could not close the gap and the Gophers took the first set.

The sides tied again in the middle of the second set and Minnesota again went on a run to take the lead 13-16, but Oregon went on a run of their own and it was the Gophers that could not quite catch up.

The third set was Oregon’s best, and the Ducks controlled play the entire set. That fell off in the fourth set - Minnesota was much sharper than the Ducks and built to a 9-15 lead.

The Ducks were not able to close, having shot only .176 in the set.

However, Oregon was in the match to the very end. The fifth set featured a back and forth struggle of eight ties, but the Gophers were ultimately able to put the Ducks away.

This was Oregon’s first loss of the season, but it was hardly a bad loss; but the Ducks will look back on this game, knowing that there are some areas that need cleaned up if you’re going to prevail against good teams like Minnesota. The most glaring problem was the number of attack errors, where the Ducks had 27 errors to 15 for the Gophers. This resulted in a team shooting percentage of .262 for Oregon, and that generally won’t be good enough to win against top teams (Minnesota’s shooting was .323).

Mimi Colyer finished with 20 kills, followed by Gabby Gonzales with 18, Morgan Lewis with 16, and Kara McGhee with 12. Georgia Murphy led the way in digs with 16, and Gonzales’ 14 included the 1,000th dig of her career. Hannah Pukis set up 58 assists with 14 digs.

#15 Ohio State

On Saturday, the Ducks shook off the previous day’s loss and came away with the victory against the Buckeyes in four sets, 28-26, 25-27, 25-20, 25-19.

The first two sets were closely contested. Oregon pulled ahead mid-set, but Ohio State caught up and tied it at 13, 14, and 15 before taking a slight lead.

The Buckeyes faced set point leading 23-24, but Oregon’s 6-2 run took the first set.

The Ducks were up 20-13 in the second set and looked like they were in a position to take the set, but Ohio State ripped off seven straight points in announcing that they were not yet out of it. Oregon was up 25-24 with set point, but it was Ohio State’s turn to rattle off three straight points and take the second set.

The sides played evenly early in the third set, but Oregon settled down and fired off five points to take control of the set.

The Buckeyes tied the set 20-20, and that’s as close as they would get, with Oregon putting down four kills in a five-point run to take the third set.

Oregon got off to an early lead in the fourth set, and Ohio State was out of gas and could not close the gap.

The Ducks did not let up, and finished the set - and match - with an emphatic exclamation.

Oregon cleaned up their attack and hit .327 on the match. Their defense was on point, with 13 blocks to five for OSU. Both of those factors limited the Buckeyes to .208 shooting on the day.

Gabby Gonzales led the Oregon attack with 19 kills, and also contributed 11 digs. Mimi Colyer had 15 kills and 12 digs, with Morgan Lewis and Kara McGhee each contributing 11 kills. Georgia Murphy led the Ducks with 18 digs, and Hannah Pukis scored a double-double of 52 assists with 10 digs.

At long last, the Oregon Ducks are seeing light and the end of this long non-conference road haul. This coming weekend they head to Pittsburgh for the Panther Challenge, where they face Pitt on Thursday 9/14 and James Madison on Friday 9/15.