Ducks Fall Short In Tight Battle
LOS ANGELES — Oregon welcomed Taylor Borup back to the lineup and bounced back from a season-low hitting performance in its previous match, but the No. 16 Ducks came out on the short end of three tight sets in a sweep by No. 17 UCLA on Friday night at Pauley Pavilion.
The Ducks (14-5 overall, 5-4 Pac-12) dropped their third straight match, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23. Oregon was within two points late in each of the first two sets, and the Ducks led the third as late as 22-21 before coming up short.
"Our offense wasn't consistent enough," said UO coach Matt Ulmer, whose team hit .237 in the match. "We made them work quite a bit there; their outsides are really talented, so that makes it tough. But you just can't have those types of gaps in your play, against a really good team at home."
How It Happened: Borup returned after missing Sunday's loss to WSU and led the Ducks with 10 kills, and added 12 digs to complete her fifth double-double of the year. They also got a spark from freshman Kiari Robey, who started at middle blocker and led the Ducks on the evening with 11.5 points including nine kills at a .368 hitting clip.
"I was hoping she could give us a little more offense out of that position," Ulmer said. "Abby (Hansen) has done great all year. Kiari's just finally had some time to string some practices together and things are starting to click."
The Ducks fell into a 4-0 hole in the opening set, but a kill by Gloria Mutiri, a block by Robey and Borup and another block by Robey and Mutiri got Oregon going. The Ducks went on a 4-1 run to stay within 13-11, getting kills from Brooke Nuneviller, Borup and Mutiri. A kill by Robey and a UCLA error tied the set, 16-16, but after a kill by Robey kept Oregon within 22-20, UCLA scored the final three points.
Two kills by Mutiri came during a run of five straight Oregon points that put the visitors up 5-2 in the second set. After the Bruins tied it, 10-10, the Ducks scored four straight, including two more kills by Mutiri, who finished with eight. But Oregon then got caught in a rotation that saw the Bruins score seven straight to lead 17-14. A kill by Robey got the Ducks within 23-21 late in the set, but it got no closer.
Service errors put the Ducks in a hole in the third. After Borup had a kill to tie it, 3-3, four of Oregon's next six serves were errors. The last put UCLA up 13-8, and though Oregon rallied to lead 21-20 on another kill by Borup, the Bruins ended the set with a 4-1 scoring run to clinch the sweep.
Kylie Robinson recorded a double-double, as well, with 15 assists and a season-high 19 digs. She now has seven double-doubles this season.
Up Next: The Ducks play at USC on Sunday at 1 p.m.