Late Surge Not Enough For Ducks
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon dropped the first two sets Friday at Matthew Knight Arena before finding some momentum in the third, but Utah finished strong to hand the No. 17 Ducks their fourth loss in the last five matches, 25-21, 25-14, 26-24.
The Ducks (15-6, 6-5 Pac-12) trailed 10-6 in the third before rallying to lead 22-19. But the No. 19 Utes won four of the last five points to finish out the match hitting .289, while holding UO hitters to a .185 average.
"I just really would like a much more consistent mindset," UO coach Matt Ulmer said. "I thought we tried to tip our way to a lot of points. They're coming out swinging very aggressively, and we did not match that except maybe for a stretch there in the third."
Oregon was without hitter Taylor Borup, who has been in and out of the lineup recently due to injury. The Ducks played in a 5-1 rotation, as they did during their comeback win over the Trojans on Sunday.
How It Happened: Coming off a reverse sweep of USC and looking to build on that, the Ducks instead fell into a 6-1 hole in the opening set Friday. Two of Dani Drews' match-high 18 kills put Utah up 9-2, and after Oregon ended that surge the Utes immediately mounted another to lead 14-3. The Ducks got a couple of kills from Gloria Mutiri to fight back within 17-11, and three straight UO points got Oregon within 23-18 before Utah closed it out.
Utah led for most of the second set as well, though play was much tighter in the early going. Brooke Nuneviller had a kill to keep the Ducks within 6-5, and another to cut Utah's lead to 11-9. But the Utes began to pull away at that point, using back-to-back aces to go up 21-12.
Oregon trailed 10-6 in the third when a kill by Nuneviller lit a fire under the home squad. Another Nuneviller kill and a service ace by Georgia Murphy helped the Ducks tie it, 10-10, and two Nuneviller kills plus two Utah errors put Oregon up 15-13. After Utah fought back to lead 18-17, the Ducks scored four straight to lead 21-18. But Utah finished out the set to complete the sweep.
Who Stood Out: Nuneviller's big third set got her to 13 kills on the night, while hitting .273. She finished with her 11th double-double of the season by adding 20 digs, the third time this season she's hit that mark. Mutiri, Karson Bacon and Abby Hansen each added seven kills, and Elise Ferreira had 33 assists as the primary setter in the 5-1.
Up Next: The Ducks host Colorado on Sunday (noon, UO Live Stream).