No. 16 Ducks Rally for Reverse Sweep at USC
LOS ANGELES – The 16th-ranked Oregon volleyball team dropped the first two sets Sunday afternoon at USC but engineered a reverse sweep (21-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-15, 16-14) to registered a five-set victory at the Galen Center. With the win, the Ducks snap a three-match losing streak and improve to 15-5 this season with a 6-4 tally in Pac-12 play.
Oregon has now won four in a row against the Trojans, the program's longest winning streak in the all-time series. All four wins have been in five sets. The Ducks are 4-2 in five setters this year.
Up Next: The Ducks are back at Matthew Knight Arena next weekend to start the second half of Pac-12 play, beginning Friday against No. 18 Utah at 6 p.m. (PT).
Brooke Nuneviller put down a match-high 19 kills in Sunday's match and was joined in double figures by Gloria Mutiri with 15 kills—and a .583 hitting percentage—and Taylor Borup with 11. With 12 digs in the match, Nuneviller completed her 10th double-double of the season.
In the final set, the Ducks took an early 5-3 lead after back-to-back kills by Mutiri. USC (10-9, 6-4) pulled even at 6-all but Oregon quickly re-established a two-point advantage after a Nuneviller kill followed by a tandem block from Nuneviller and Abby Hansen. UO maintained a lead until the home team tied it up at 11-all.
However, a Trojans' service error and another Nuneviller kill pushed the lead back to two at 13-11. The teams traded points but after Nuneviller went down the line for her final kill, UO had match point which prompted a USC timeout. Out of the huddle, the Trojans pulled even again—14-14—to force head coach Matt Ulmer to use a timeout of his own.
Hansen and Mutiri ended the next rally with another UO block to give the team a third opportunity to close it out. On the ensuing point, Becca Morse put in a serve that was mishandled and sent back over which Elise Ferreira tapped down for her only kill of the match and, more importantly, the win.
Libero Georgia Murphy led UO with 17 digs and a season-high four aces, two each early in the third and fourth sets. Collectively, the Ducks' seven services aces are their highest since seven aces against Oregon State (Sept. 22) in the conference opener.
Along with that timely kill, Ferreira finished the match with 38 assists and 12 digs for a double-double of her own and also had three total blocks against the Trojans. Oregon produced a .311 hitting percentage over the final three sets of Sunday's win.
Off the bench, Hansen chipped in eight kills and seven total blocks against the Trojans.
USC entered the match on a four-match winning streak and jumped out to the 2-0 lead thanks, in part, to mid-set surges in first and second frames. With Oregon lead 11-10 in the game one, the Trojans won six of the next seven points seize control of play. The Ducks pulled to within two late in the set—as late as USC leading 23-21—but couldn't close the gap.
In the second, UO led 14-12 before the Trojans put together a 7-1 run to go ahead for good. The Ducks saved two set points but the home team came away with the set win and 2-0 match advantage.
Conversely, Oregon never trailed in the third set. The team got out to a 5-2 lead with the help of Murphy at the service line. USC evened the score at 13-all and later at 20-all but the Ducks won five of the last six points in the third set to get on the scoreboard.
The Trojans won the first two points of the fourth but Oregon responded to take a 6-3 lead, once again aided by a pair of Murphy service aces. The lead grew to five—up 11-6—after a personal three-point run by Hansen including two overpass kills created by tough serving by Nuneviller. The Ducks iced the frame with a 6-0 run that featured kills from Hansen, Mutiri and Nuneviller (2x), a Hansen-Ferreira block and a service ace by Morse.
Notable: Freshman and Canby, Ore., native Daley McClellan recorded the first kill of her UO career, a shot out of the back row that went off the USC block. Elise Agi, another UO freshman, made her debut as a serving sub in the final three sets.
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