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Ducks Win Five-Set Thriller

Jan 24, 2021

FINAL STATS - Oregon 3, Washington State 2 | Boxscore

PULLMAN, Wash. – Oregon picked up its first win of the 2021 season Sunday with a thrilling five-set victory at Washington State in Bohler Gym.
 
The Ducks got huge contributions from all over the place in the win, led by Gloria Mutiri's match-high 15 kills and Georgia Murphy's career-high 29 digs. Additionally, four other players posted double-doubles while Abby Hansen finished with nine of Oregon's 17 blocks.
 
How It Happened: The two teams traded points through the first half of the deciding set, but Oregon seized control with a 3-0 run in the middle part of set five. From there, the Ducks ended the match on a 6-2 run to take the final set going away, 15-8. Mutiri caught fire in the late part of the set, putting down four kills after it was tied 6-6, including each of the last two points. Overall, the Ducks hit .429 and recorded 12 kills as a team while holding Washington State to .179 hitting in set five.  
 
Oregon grabbed control of the opening set early on and coasted to a 25-19 win to take a 1-0 lead. The Ducks led by as many as eight in the set, and closed with a 5-2 run to end the set after the Cougars cut the lead to three. Taylor Borup led the way with three kills and a pair of blocks, while Oregon held WSU to a -.026 hitting percentage.
 
After Washington State controlled much of the second set to even it up with a 25-20 win, the Ducks answered with another 25-19 victory in set three. Oregon again took control of the set early, opening up a 14-9 lead at one point, however the Cougars battled back to take a 17-16 lead. The Ducks ended the frame on a 9-2 run, though, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
 
Washington State led nearly the entire way in the fourth set, but Oregon made things interesting late, cutting it to 23-22 before the Cougars scored back-to-back points to send things to force the fifth set.
 
Quotable: Head Coach Matt Ulmer
"I was really impressed with how we responded. Washington State is a good, well-coached team; their defense is difficult to score against, and I thought our defense responded well. I thought the level of play on both sides was high, especially since both teams haven't had much practice time. But I think everyone's excited just to have been able to get back out and play this weekend."
 
"It was huge to have everyone contribute. I told the team, if you want be a great team, everyone has to do their part and everyone has to play well. I thought it was great for us that we played great defense; Georgia was phenomenal. We responded well serving because that was a weakness on Friday, and today we caused disruption. Just everyone doing their part today was huge."
 
Notable: Murphy's 29 digs are a career-high and the most by an Oregon player since Brooke Nuneviller had 30 against Colorado in November 2018 … Four different Ducks posted double-doubles with Nuneviller and Borup doing so with kills and digs, and setters Elise Ferreira and Kylie Robinson with assists and digs … Hansen set a career-high with her nine total blocks and three solo blocks … Karson Bacon finished with nine kills on 21 swings with no errors while recording five blocks … Nuneviller's 55 attack attempts are a career-high … Robinson reached double-figures in digs for the second straight match to start the year after doing so just twice all of 2019 …
 
Up Next: The Ducks will play their home opener Friday against UCLA (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network).