Defense Lifts Ducks to Win at No. 24 Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. – Powered by a stingy defense, the No. 11 Oregon volleyball team opened its weekend Friday night with a 3-1 road win (23-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-22) at 24th-ranked Colorado. The Ducks limited Colorado to a season-low .120 hitting percentage in the top-25 matchup. In handing the Buffs their first home loss of the year, Oregon improves to 12-1 this season with a 3-0 mark in Pac-12 play.
The Ducks registered 93 digs and 15.0 total team blocks. In her return to the UO lineup, libero Georgia Murphy racked up a match-high 27 digs, a figure just two off her career best. Murphy last played Sept. 17 at American prior to the Colorado match. Friday marked Oregon's third outing of the season with at least 90 digs.
In the middle, Abby Hansen tied season highs with 10 kills and a match-leading eight total blocks. She had three of those blocks in the fourth set including the match-winning tandem stuff alongside Gloria Mutiri. The UO opposite had a season-high six blocks of her own.
Brooke Nuneviller and Taylor Borup paced the Ducks with 13 and 12 kills, respectively, to join Hansen in double figures. The two Oregon outside hitters also had 13 digs each to complete double-double efforts. Elise Ferreira—25 assists, 12 digs—and Kylie Robinson—27 assists, 14 digs—also posted double-doubles in the win.
Oregon led late in the first set but Colorado (10-2, 1-2 Pac-12) rattled off the final six points of the frame to take the 1-0 match lead.
The Ducks responded immediately, jumping out to an 8-3 advantage in the second and held a lead of at least three for the remainder of the set. Oregon extended its lead to eight at 18-10 behind a three-point surge that including kills from Hansen and Mutiri. After a kill by Morgan Lewis established set point, the Ducks were gifted the game with a CU attack error.
It was the Buffs' turn to respond, and did so with a 7-2 start to the third set. However, the Ducks began to steadily claw back and pulled even at 10-all thanks to another Colorado attack error. From that point, neither team led by more than one point until the Ducks took a 21-19 advantage which forced Colorado to call a timeout.
Oregon opened up a 23-20 lead but the Buffs won the next two points, causing UO to use a timeout of its own. Out of the huddle, Borup put down a kill to push the Ducks to set point at 24-22. CU saved one set point but on the team's second opportunity, Mutiri put away a kill and Oregon took the 2-1 lead on the match scoreboard.
Karson Bacon opened the fourth frame with a kill and then with Murphy at the service line, the Ducks won the next four points to jump out to a 5-0 lead. However, Colorado rallied to erase the deficit and take a 12-11 lead with an Oregon miscue. The next swing of points belonged to the Ducks, a 7-2 push that resulted in an 18-14 lead. Back-to-back kills from Nuneviller and Mutiri capped the run.
In similar fashion to the previous set, the Buffs got back to within one four times down the stretch but Oregon never relinquished its lead. Hansen took care of an overpass to bring the Ducks to match point and then ended the next rally with Mutiri to clinch the four-set triumph.
Up Next: The road swing through the Pac-12 mountain schools continues Sunday against No. 19 Utah, a top-25 matchup in Salt Lake City. First serve is scheduled for 11 a.m. (PT) on the Pac-12 Networks. The Ducks are back home next weekend for matches against Cal (Oct. 8) and Stanford (Oct. 10) at Matthew Knight Arena.
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