Oregon Ducks volleyball started the Pac-12 portion of the season on the right foot, sweeping the Oregon State Beavers 25-20, 25-15, 25-14.
You knew when you entered Matthew Knight Arena that this night was going to be a treat. Oregon volleyball set an attendance record of 7,334. Never have I seen the entirety of the Oregon Ducks Marching Band in the stands, but there they were - and never did the Oregon fight song sound louder and prouder.
Oregon needed some time to warm up and get into the game, regardless of the band or the crowd. The crowd was loud and boisterous all game, cheering at every point and even harder at every rally.
In the first set, it took the Ducks some time to work out the adrenaline and settle down. “I thought our group was a little shell-shocked by the crowd at first, a little tight,” said head coach Matt Ulmer after the match. “But we settled down and played our game, and I thought we did a lot of really good things.”
The sides traded points before OSU pulled ahead in the middle of the first set with a 4-0 run to lead the set 10-7.
S1 | This Lauren kill has us on a 4-0 run!— Oregon State Volleyball (@BeaverVBall) September 23, 2023
OSU 10, ORE 7 pic.twitter.com/3LjecMwpXH
That three-point lead would just about be it for the Beavers. Oregon caught up and tied 19-19 on a Karson Bacon kill that began a 7-1 run by the Ducks to take over the set, ending with a Hannah Pukis service ace.
The second set began with Oregon getting up early on the Beavers with a 9-1 run to lead 10-2. OSU did not have the height or the athletes to try and mount a comeback. The third set featured much of the same - Oregon gained an early lead and finished the set and match with a 5-0 run.
DUCKS WIN‼️— Oregon Volleyball (@OregonVB) September 23, 2023
No. 6 Oregon opens @pac12 play with a straight-set win (25-20, 25-15, 25-14) over Oregon State in front of a record crowd at Matthew Knight Arena!
Next: Sunday at UCLA, 2 p.m.#GoDucks pic.twitter.com/E2Y9j3zmDI
Oregon State is a very good team defensively. They had incredible effort on their side of the court that led to impressive rallies. Unfortunately, the Beavers don’t match up well against Oregon’s height - but few teams do. That was evidenced by 11 blocks by the Ducks to 3 for OSU.
Kara McGhee was the scoring leader with 10 kills on .563 hitting. Mimi Colyer had 9 kills and Morgan Lewis had 8.
Oregon continues to be outstanding defensively. Georgia Murphy led the Ducks with 16 digs, and Hannah Pukis came up with 14 digs to go along with her 30 assists. Gabby Gonzales had 10 digs to go with her 7 kills.
We’ve been seeing a sprinkling of youngsters here and there, and for this match we saw Kate Thibault play. Thibault is a defensive specialist that played in part of the second and third sets, garnering 5 digs along the way.
Coach Matt Ulmer had this to say after the match:
Coach Ulmer was followed by setter Hannah Pukis.
Then Kara McGhee took the table.
#6 Oregon volleyball (11-1, 1-0 Pac-12) next heads to Pasadena to battle UCLA (8-3, 0-1 Pac-12) this afternoon. The Bruins are coming off a five-set loss to USC last Wednesday. They are led by 6-2 OH Iman Ndiaye and 6-4 OH Grayce Olson.