Team Effort Lifts No. 13 Ducks Past ASU
TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 13 Oregon volleyball team closed out the opening weekend of Pac-12 play with a hard-fought, five-set win (25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 23-25, 15-7) Sunday afternoon over Arizona State. Playing in their third five setter this year, the Ducks ended the match on a 6-0 run to avoid the would-be upset.
With the victory, Oregon improves to 11-1 overall with a 2-0 mark in league play. The Ducks have also now won five in a row.
Brooke Nuneviller registered a match-high 22 kills while hitting .375 against the Sun Devils coupled with 17 digs, good for her fourth double-double of the season. Karson Bacon and Gloria Mutiri each put down 13 kills. Bacon was 13-for-17 with no attack errors which results in a .765 hitting percentage out of the middle.
In the decisive fifth set, the Ducks jumped out to a 5-2 advantage with Nuneviller tallying four kills in the stretch of points. On the second point of the frame, libero and Tempe, Ariz., native Becca Morse served what appeared to be an ace but the ball was called out. Head coach Matt Ulmer used a challenge on the play which was overturned in the Ducks' favor.
Arizona State (7-6, 0-2) won the next three points to pull even at 5-all but Oregon pushed ahead with a pair of blocks and a kill from Mutiri to take the 8-5 lead at the media timeout. Out of the break, the Sun Devils pulled to within two—Oregon led 9-7—but would not score again.
Bacon and Nuneviller traded kills to push the advantage to 11-7; the home team called a timeout after each kill. The run continued with a tandem block from Bacon and Morgan Lewis, and one last kill from Nuneviller—her sixth of the fifth set—before an ASU attack error brought UO to match point.
On the next play, Bacon and Lewis teamed up again for a block to secure the road victory. Taylor Borup, who clinched Wednesday's win against Oregon State with an ace, served out the final five points of the match in Tempe.
Collectively, the Ducks hit .471 in the fifth set while holding ASU to a .000 mark with the help of four blocks in the frame, three of which included Bacon.
The Ducks are now 2-1 in five-set matches this season with both wins coming after being extended to five after holding a 2-0 match lead.
Nuneviller was joined by Elise Ferreira and Kylie Robinson on the list of UO double-doubles in Sunday's match. Ferreira tallied 34 assists and 11 digs while Robinson had 21 assists and 10 digs. Morse, in her second start at libero, led all players with 19 digs and added seven assists.
The team's 15.0 total blocks are a season high, replacing the 14.5 blocks against Portland State (Aug. 27) in the season opener. For an 11th time in 12 matches, the Ducks held their opponent under a .200 hitting percentage; the Sun Devils hit .154 against Oregon.
In addition to her offensive output, Bacon tied her season high with eight total blocks. Mutiri and Abby Hansen each added six blocks and Lewis was part of five blocks, as well.
With two sets in hand, the Ducks fell behind early in the third but never faced a deficit of more than four points. Oregon saved three set points behind Morse's serve before the home team got on the board. In the fourth, UO took a 13-9 lead but ASU won 10 of the next 12 points to seize control of play. Again, the Ducks saved a set point at 24-22 but Arizona State ended the next rally with a kill to force a fifth set.
Up Next: The Pac-12 schedule continues with road matches next weekend at Colorado and Utah. The Ducks' next home match is Friday, Oct. 8, against California.
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