Volleyball Sweeps DePaul, Rallies Past UNLV To Win DePaul Invitational

Sept. 14, 2002

CHICAGO, Ill. - The University of Oregon won two matches Saturday, sweeping DePaul University, 30-24, 30-26, 30-27 and then downing UNLV in its first five game match of the season, 30-23, 30-23, 27-30, 24-30, 15-13, to take home the championship at the DePaul Invitational in Chicago, Ill. It was the Ducks' final preseason action and improves their record to 9-3 overall heading into Pac-10 action next week.

Senior Lindsay Closs was named tournament MVP, finishing the two-day tournament with 44 kills and 11 blocks. Closs never hit below .300 in a match and added six service aces. Named to the all-tournament team was senior Amanda Porter, who finished the tournament with 41 kills and six blocks. Porter hit above .400 in all three matches, including a .500 clip versus Nevada-Las Vegas.

'This was a huge win for us at the end of a long road trip,' Closs said. 'We proved that we can stick it out if we play together and it was a great way to go into the Pac-10.'

In the first match of the day, Oregon faced host DePaul and dominated the match both offensively and defensively. The Ducks had the advantage in kills (54-37), led by Porter's match-high 15 kills and Kelly Russell's 14 kills. Defensively, Oregon outdug the Blue Demons 51-37 with junior Lindsay Murphy and freshman Jodi Bell leading the way (12 and 11 digs, respectively). As a team, Oregon had 11 service aces, including five by Closs.

Closs served Oregon to eight consecutive points - a stretch that included two service aces - to give the Ducks an 18-10 advantage in the first game. A kill by DePaul outside hitter Janet Cotter ended the Ducks' rally and the Blue Demons narrowed the gap, 20-18, after a kill by Lara Marks. Oregon never relented the lead and went up 28-23 after a DePaul error. A kill by Russell won the game to give Oregon a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second game, Oregon led throughout and took its biggest lead, 25-17, after a kill by outside hitter Lauren Westendorf, who finished the match will three kills and a career-high four service aces. The Blue Demons rallied to pull within three points, 29-26, but a block assist by Westendorf and Porter put the Ducks up 2-0 heading into the third game.

Oregon led often and early in Game 3, taking a 5-1 lead after a kill by Porter. But down the stretch, DePaul took the lead 18-15 and later led 26-22. Following a DePaul ball handling error, the Ducks began to rally and pulled within a point, 27-26, on a kill by freshman Jaclyn Jones. The Ducks then scored four consecutive points - including an ace by Russell and a kill each by Jones and senior Sydney Chute - to sweep the Blue Demons and improve to 2-0 at the tournament.

In Oregon's final match of an 11-day road swing, the Ducks carried their momentum from the first match of the day and after trailing 13-9 in the first game rallied back to tie the game at 13 with a kill by junior Heather Gilmore. With Chute serving, Oregon then scored three consecutive points (two kills by Closs and one by Chute) to go ahead 16-13. The closest UNLV got was 21-20 after an ace by Leiana Oswald, but following an Oregon time out, the Ducks outscored the Rebels 8-3 to win the first game.

The teams traded points in the second game before Oregon scored four-straight points to go ahead 14-10. UNLV rallied late to pull within a point, 19-18, but the Ducks outscored the Rebels 11-5 down the stretch to win, 30-23.

Despite trailing by as many as nine points in the third game, the Ducks pulled within three points, 24-21 after a kill by Closs. UNLV then went ahead by five points, 28-23, after a net violation was called on Oregon. Two kills by Russell put the Ducks within two points, 28-26, but Oregon was never able to take the lead and UNLV won on a kill by Patricia Assuncao.

UNLV outkilled the Ducks 18-14 in the fourth game and hit .371 to Oregon's .258 to tie the match at two games apiece. Oregon never trailed in the fifth game and a kill by Russell gave the Ducks the win.

'This was a huge win for us,' Oregon head coach Carl Ferreira said. 'We played back to back matches and were at the end of a long road trip. I really feel like we gutted this one out and it was a terrific win.'

Oregon opens Pac-10 play this weekend, traveling to Seattle to face Washington Friday before heading to Pullman to face Washington State Saturday.

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