Ducks Sweep ASU To Close Regular Season
TEMPE, Ariz. – Powered by an efficient offensive attack, Oregon closed out the regular season with a straight-sets win at Arizona State, 25-20, 25-15, 25-17, bouncing back from a five-set loss two days ago to finish at 14-4 in the conference-only season.
"A really nice turnaround for us from Thursday," said head coach Matt Ulmer. "I thought that was one of our worst matches of the year so to see us come back and look really good on offense and look comfortable and have good connections – that was really important for us."
The Ducks will now await their postseason fate. The NCAA Tournament selection show is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPNU.
How It Happened: Oregon opened with a hot start offensively in the first set. The Ducks hit .415 with 19 kills, led by Morgan Lewis' five kills on seven swings in the opening game. The Ducks opened up a lead at 13-9 before the two teams went back-and-forth for a good chunk of the set. After ASU cut it to 19-18, Oregon responded with a 4-1 run keyed by a couple of Karson Bacon kills before closing out the set.
The Ducks kept rolling in set two, jumping out to an early 8-3 lead following a 6-1 run. From there, they dominated the rest of the set with Bacon putting down four kills out of the middle while Nuneviller added five kills. Oregon also upped the pressure defensively, holding Arizona State to -.030 hitting in the second frame.
Oregon opened up a big lead to start the third, going on a 6-0 run with Georgia Murphy on serve to force an ASU timeout. The Sun Devils cut the lead to four late in the set at 18-14, but the Ducks responded with a 4-1 run to break it open again before coasting to the finish.
What It Means: At 14-4 on the year in the always strong Pac-12 Conference, Oregon will likely earn an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament which is set to begin April 14 in Omaha, Neb. The Ducks finish the season in second place alone in the conference, matching the program's highest ever finish in the conference.
"We've played a lot of good volleyball and have been pretty consistent all year," said Ulmer. "We're excited for Omaha, we're excited about the tournament and hopeful that we're going to play our best volleyball and see what kind of run we can go on."
Notable: The Ducks' 14 Pac-12 wins are tied for the second-most conference wins in a season in program history … Oregon hit .339 as a team, the second-highest percentage it has hit in a match this year … Nuneviller recorded her 15th double-double of the season, finishing with 14 kills and 16 digs with no hitting errors in 35 swings … She finishes the regular season averaging 3.54 kills and 3.83 digs per set … Bacon and Gloria Mutiri added nine kills apiece with Bacon leading the team with a .533 hitting percentage … Murphy added 17 digs, ending the regular season averaging 3.58 digs per set.
Up Next: Oregon will find out its postseason fate on Sunday during the NCAA Tournament selection show at 1 p.m. on ESPNU.