Ducks Drop Weekend Finale
EUGENE, Ore. — Playing without second-leading attacker Taylor Borup due to injury, the No. 13 Oregon volleyball team was swept by Washington State on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Ducks (14-4 overall, 5-3 Pac-12) hit a season-low .091 in losing 25-20, 25-23, 25-15. UO coach Matt Ulmer said afterward that it turned out Borup started feeling the effects of her injury in the middle of Thursday's loss to UW, in which Oregon squandered a two-set lead.
Though Borup had been key to the Ducks' win over Stanford a week earlier as well as the strong start against UW, Ulmer didn't use her absence as an excuse for Sunday's loss. "A lot of people did not play their best," he said. "And we paid the price for that."
How It Happened: With Borup sidelined, Taylor Williams stepped into the starting lineup and she served two straight UO points that gave the Ducks their first lead of the opening set at 7-6. Trailing as the set wore on, Oregon rallied into a 17-17 tie, but Washington State scored the next three points. A kill by Gloria Mutiri got the UO women within 21-20, but WSU scored the next four points to win the set.
The Ducks didn't have a block in the opening set, but their defense was more of a presence in the second. Karson Bacon and Mutiri teamed for the first UO block of the match as Oregon put together a 5-1 run to an 8-5 lead — a run that began with back-to-back kills from Bacon. WSU had rallied into an 11-9 lead before solo blocks by Williams and Abby Hansen and a third straight UO block by Hansen and Morgan Lewis put Oregon up 12-11. A successful challenge by Ulmer gave the Ducks a late two-point lead, 19-17, and another successful challenge tied it, 21-21. A kill by Lewis kept it tied at 22-22, but WSU scored three of the final four points to go up 2-0.
In the third set, Oregon was still fighting and appeared to forge a 12-12 tie at the midway point. But a successful challenge by WSU instead put the Ducks down 13-11, sparking a 7-0 run for the Cougars. The Ducks at that point went to the bench to provide some experience in conference play for Daley McClellan and Kiari Robery.
Who Stood Out: Brooke Nuneviller had eight kills and 14 digs, in the process becoming the fourth player in UO history to reach 1,500 digs for her career. Lewis also had eight kills to lead the Ducks, and hit .250 on the afternoon.
UO head coach Matt Ulmer
On Sunday's offensive struggles
"They served us well enough that our passing made us pretty predictable on offense. And then we didn't deal with their block very well."
On up-and-down play from some key players recently
"You cannot go on that roller coaster; too many of us are doing that. It's hard to know what you're going to get every night. It's hard to match up, hard to scheme when you don't know who is going to be productive that night, who you can count on."
Up Next: The Ducks play at UCLA on Friday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).