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Ducks Drop Home Opener

Jan 29, 2021

EUGENE, Ore. — Brooke Nuneviller had a double-double with 15 kills and 15 digs for the Oregon volleyball program Friday night, but the Ducks fell in four sets to No. 19 UCLA in Matthew Knight Arena, 25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 25-13.

The Ducks (1-2) fought back after dropping the first two sets and grabbed ahold of momentum in the third. But the Bruins wrenched it back by scoring the first six points in set four, a cushion Oregon wasn't able to close.

How It Happened: UCLA all-American Mac May was a difference maker through the match, and finished with 24 kills. In the opening set, the Bruins jumped out to a lead that reached six a couple of times, at 11-5 and 12-6. Oregon trailed 12-7 when Nuneviller took over service, and she made it 12-8 with a kill out of the back row before Taylor Borup got the Ducks within 12-9. But May had kills on the next two points as UCLA took control again.

In set two, Nuneviller got a sideout for the Ducks that made it 8-6, then took over serve for three more UO points, the last an ace. After UCLA got a sideout, May had back-to-back kills again and the Bruins were within 11-9. May tied it 12-12 and again at 14-14, the latter point sparking a run of four straight for UCLA that opened up a lead. Nuneviller had a kill off the UCLA block that got the Ducks within 21-20, but the Bruins scored the next four in a row to win the second set.

The Ducks trailed 5-1 in the third set when Abby Hansen provided a spark. She scored on consecutive points to close the game, and she was serving when Oregon knotted the set at 7-7. Gloria Mutiri had a quiet night overall after recording 26 kills at WSU the week before, but she powered a kill through the Bruins defense to tie it again, 10-10. That came during a 9-0 run with Kylie Robinson holding serve for the Ducks, with Robinson's ace capping the run for a 16-10 lead. A tip by Nuneviller set up set point for Oregon, and the Ducks finished it off two points later to pull within a set.

UCLA immediately stole momentum back to open the fourth set, going up 6-0 and maintaining that lead at 10-4. As was the case in the first set, the Ducks struggled to get a sideout that would stop the Bruins' momentum, particularly during a run of seven straight points that put UCLA up 22-10. The Ducks kept fighting, but the deficit was too much to overcome and the Bruins clinched the match.

UO coach Matt Ulmer, on passing well but only hitting .117 for the match
"Their offense was definitely more connected and cohesive than ours was. … We have to score better and reward Georgia Murphy and Taylor Borup and Brooke Nuneviller in serve receive."

UO senior Taylor Borup, on playing her first home match since November 2018
"It definitely wasn't the same (without fans). Atmosphere's a little different; we have cardboard fans, which will do. Just means we have to create our own energy. Besides the outcome, it was just fun to be out there as a team. Definitely different, but just as fun as I remembered."

Notable: Nuneviller has recorded a double-double in all three matches so far this season …It's the fourth time in her career that Nuneviller has reached at least 15 kills and 15 digs in a match ... Kylie Robinson also turned in her third double-double in as many matches, finishing with 23 assists and 10 digs ... Robinson has reached double figures in digs each of the first three matches this year after doing so just twice all of last year ... Borup recorded 12 digs, reaching double figures for the second straight match ... Oregon had four different players finish with 10-plus digs for the second straight match ... The Ducks played short-handed with only nine players available.

Up Next: The Ducks host the Bruins again on Sunday (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network).