Ducks Win In Five Again, Sweep Weekend at USC
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Bates/Off the Block Blog
LOS ANGELES – Oregon gutted out its second straight five-set win over USC to sweep the weekend in L.A. against the Trojans with a 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 15-8 win Sunday in the Galen Center. The Ducks won their third straight to improve to 4-2 on the year, their longest winning streak since the 2018 season.
How It Happened: The Ducks trailed 4-1 early in set five, but took advantage of some USC miscues to tie things up at five. Gloria Mutiri and Brooke Nuneviller delivered kills on consecutive points to give Oregon a slight edge at 7-5 before Mutiri caught fire with two more kills and a block to ignite a 8-2 run to close out a 15-8 fifth-set win.
For the second straight match, Oregon dropped a tight opening set, falling 25-22. The Ducks were the first to 20, leading 20-18, but USC went on a 7-2 run following that to close out the set and get on the board first.
The two teams went back-and-forth through most of set two, until the Ducks went on a run to end the frame and even things up with a 25-20 win. With Oregon down 19-18, Elise Ferreira went back to serve and ignited a 5-0 run with an ace and a few more tough serves as the Ducks ended the set by scoring seven of the last eight points.
Oregon moved ahead in the match with a convincing 25-18 set three win to go up 2-1. The Ducks trailed 9-8, but went on a 6-2 run, again fueled by Ferreira at the service line to pull ahead. The Oregon block also came alive in set three, as Karson Bacon and Abby Hansen each had three blocks in the set while the Ducks had six as a team.
USC forced a fifth by winning a close set four, 25-23, as both teams found their rhythm offensively with the Trojans hitting .405 and Oregon .387 in the frame. After the two teams traded points most of the way to tie things up at 23 apiece, USC scored the final two on a Emilia Weske kill and a Brooke Botkin ace to send it to the fifth.
Quotable: Head Coach Matt Ulmer
On the win…
"We're just becoming more and more mature and I think that we've shown that we can handle adversity pretty well. I thought we were just really tough. It was another match where things didn't go how we wanted it to but we just played the next play."
On the play of middle blockers Karson Bacon and Abby Hansen…
"We always want to get our middles involved. I though USC served really tough so it's not easy to get your middles involved as much when you're playing a tough-serving team. I thought the connection between them and our setters was really good, and that's something that needs to continue to grow."
Notable: Oregon's three-match winning streak is its longest since winning five straight at the end of the 2018 season into the NCAA Tournament … Oregon extended its winning streak over USC in Los Angeles to five straight matches, while the Ducks have won seven of the last nine road meetings with the Trojans … Ferreira served up a career-high five service aces … Mutiri finished with a season-high 14 kills, including eight in the final two sets … She has led or shared the team lead in kills in each of Oregon's four wins … Bacon and Hansen – Oregon's two middle blockers – combined to hit .520 with 14 kills and just one error in 25 attempts … Nuneviller recorded her fifth double-double of the year, finishing with 11 kills and 15 digs … She has reached double-figures in digs in each of the six matches … Oregon played with just nine available players for the fourth straight match.
Up Next: Oregon returns home for a pair of matches against Arizona Friday and Sunday. The match time for Friday is TBD, with Sunday's beginning at 11 a.m.