Hot Offense, Stingy Defense Lead to 2-0 Start
EUGENE, Ore. – Powered by a balanced offensive attack and a stingy defense, the No. 14 University of Oregon volleyball team opened its 2021 (fall) season with a pair of straight-set wins Friday at Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks combined to hit .339 across both matches including a sizzling .370 showing in the day's final match against Santa Clara.
Running its familiar 6-2 system, Oregon's six primary attackers each had at least eight total kills Friday with Abby Hansen and returning All-American Brooke Nuneviller leading the way with 13 and 16 kills, respectively.
Hansen and Karson Bacon combined for 15 kills on 20 swings—and no errors—in the Ducks' sweep of Santa Clara. Hansen was a perfect 8-for-8 while Bacon wasn't far behind with seven kills on 12 swings.
Match 1: Oregon def. Portland State, 3-0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-14)
In the opener against Portland State, the Ducks recorded a .310 hitting percentage but the defense was overwhelming to the tune of a -.053 efficiency for the visitors. Oregon racked up 14.5 total blocks and served up nine aces against the Vikings.
Oregon blew through the opening set against Portland State—25-9—but the two teams traded points through the first half of the second. The score was tied at 13-all when the Ducks unleashed a 9-0 run punctuated by an ace off the hand of Kylie Robinson. The UO setter had three service aces during the stretch, and finished the match with five.
In the third set, the Ducks turned a 10-9 lead into a 22-12 advantage and never looked back. Hansen clinched the match with her fifth kill against the Vikings.
Match 2: Oregon def. Santa Clara, 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-14)
Match two followed a similar script with the home team using a run of points to create distance on the scoreboard. Oregon led 15-14 before winning eight of the next nine points to seize control of the first set against Santa Clara. Defensive specialist Becca Morse had two aces during the run.
The Ducks jumped out to an early 9-4 lead in the second to force the visitors into a timeout. Later in the frame, Santa Clara pulled to within two—UO led 19-17—but a swift five-point push re-established a little cushion on the scoreboard. For the second time in as many sets, Nuneviller ended the game with a kill.
In the third, Oregon steadily increased the pressure and doubled up the Broncos at 12-6 on a second-contact kill for Robinson and then again at 16-8 when Bacon and Gloria Mutiri teamed up for a block. The lead grew to double figures at 22-12 and on their first match point, the Ducks claimed victory with an SCU attack error.
Behind the block, libero Georgia Murphy was strong all day. She picked up 29 digs in two matches on day one of the Oregon Invitational, good for nearly five per set.
Up Next: Saturday vs San Jose State – 1 p.m.
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