Ducks Fall in Return to the Floor
PULLMAN, Wash. – Back in action for the first time in over a year, Oregon dropped its 2021 season-opener at Washington State, 3-1, Friday at Bohler Gym.
All four sets were closely contested, but the Ducks couldn't fend off rallies by the Cougars late in sets one, three and four. Morgan Lewis led the way with a team-high 12 kills on 21 attempts while Brooke Nuneviller picked up where she left off last year with 11 kills to go along with 17 digs.
How It Happened: The Ducks (0-1) got off to a bit a rocky start on the way to dropping the opening set, 25-20. After Oregon tied things up at 15, Washington State (1-0) used a 7-0 run to open things up. Lewis started strong for the Ducks, putting down four kills on six swings in the set.
The two teams again traded points for most of the first part of the second set, but this time the Ducks pulled away late by closing with an 11-4 run to win 25-19. Lewis continued her strong play, delivering three kills to key the Oregon run late in the set. The Ducks hit .353 as a team in game two with 14 kills on 34 attempts with just two hitting errors.
For the third straight set, the Ducks and Cougars went back-and-forth out of the gates, but Washington State again used a late run to win 25-22 and take a 2-1 lead in the match. After Oregon cut it to 17-16, the Cougars scored four unanswered to make it 21-16. The Ducks would answer with a 4-0 run of their own to cut their deficit to one before WSU scored four of the next six points to take the set.
After falling behind 3-0 early in set four, the Ducks bounced back and led 15-14 at the media timeout, but again fell victim to a late WSU run to drop the set, 25-22.
Quotable: Head Coach Matt Ulmer
"It's great to see Pac-12 volleyball being played and it's great to have the Ducks back out on the floor. We did a lot of good things today, but there's a lot of areas for us to improve on and clean up. Washington State is a good team that's always hard to score on."
"It was amazing to see Taylor Borup back. Her best play is ahead of her, so I'm excited to see that comeback. Morgan did a nice job. Some of her kills were lightning since she just hits the ball so hard. Nuneviller played her normal great all-around game."
Notable: Nuneviller became the 14th player in program history to reach 1,000 career digs and is now 12th on the UO digs list with 1,014 … She posted a double-double for the 16th time in her career and fourth time in the last six matches dating back to last season … Lewis posted double-figures in kills for the third time in her career, finishing with 12 on 21 swings … Kylie Robinson recorded her third career double-double, finishing with 14 digs and 22 assists … Gloria Mutiri recorded 11 kills in her Oregon debut … Taylor Borup put down seven kills while adding nine digs in her first action since the Ducks' 2018 Elite Eight match vs. Nebraska.
Up Next: The Ducks will look to bounce back against the Cougars Sunday at 11 a.m. (Pac-12 Network).