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Comeback Falls Short In Pullman

Nov 18, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Oregon volleyball team was unable to complete the reverse sweep after dropping the first two sets to No. 22 Washington State on Thursday night, falling 25-16, 25-19, 23-25, 20-25, 15-12 in Bohler Gym.
The No. 16 Ducks (20-7, 11-6 Pac-12) came up short in the first of two top-25 road battles this weekend despite 21 kills from Brooke Nuneviller and 24 digs by Georgia Murphy.
Oregon battled back from a slow start to force a fifth set for the ninth time this season, but a stretch of seven points in nine rallies by the Cougars proved to be the difference in the final race to 15.
How it Happened: Oregon played to an early 6-6 tie behind three kills from Nuneviller and two from Morgan Lewis, but a couple scoring runs gave WSU a 17-12 lead. The Cougars finished the opening set on an 8-2 run to win 25-16, with the Ducks hitting just .056 to start the match.
The Ducks jumped out to a 6-2 lead in set two, with Nuneviller putting down three more kills and Murphy recording the first ace of the night. Oregon led 10-6 when WSU caught fire, scoring four straight to power a 10-2 run that gave the Cougars a 16-12 advantage. The Ducks pulled within four, 23-19, but the Cougars finished off a 25-19 victory and took a 2-0 lead in the match.
Nuneviller started hot again in the third, notching four kills as Oregon took an 8-6 lead. Nuneviller's fifth kill of the set ignited a 9-3 run that gave the Ducks a six-point lead, 16-10. WSU pulled within 17-14 when freshman Elise Agi made a big impact off the bench, putting down three straight kills as Oregon's lead returned to six, 22-16. Lewis ended a 4-1 WSU run with a kill that gave the Ducks set point at 24-20, and the Cougars forced a Oregon timeout with three straight points before Agi secured a 25-23 win with her fourth kill of the set.
Back-to-back blocks by Abby Hansen and Gloria Mutiri helped the Ducks to a 5-2 lead in the fourth. WSU went ahead 9-8 before a kill by Lewis started a 3-0 UO run, and back-to-back kills by Nuneviller fueled a 5-1 run put Oregon up 17-12. Three more kills by Lewis and an ace by Hansen gave the Ducks a seven-point lead at 23-16, and a WSU service error ended a late 3-0 run by the Cougars and sent the match to a deciding fifth set.

It was Nuneviller yet again early in the fifth, surpassing the 20-kill mark while staking Oregon to a 4-3 lead. The Ducks led 6-5 after a pair of WSU service errors, but the Cougars took control with a 5-1 run. Washington State led 12-8 when Nuneviller tried to get Oregon back in it with back-to-back kills, but the two teams traded points the rest of the way and the Cougars escaped with a victory.
Who Stood Out: Nuneviller notched her sixth 20-kill performance of the season while adding 12 digs for her 15th double-double, and Murphy surpassed 20 digs for the seventh time in 2021 and 11th in her career. Lewis hit a team-best .407 with 14 kills, and Karson Bacon put down nine with three blocks. Hansen led the Ducks with six blocks, Mutiri had six kills and four blocks, and Agi made her presence felt off the bench with five kills. Setters Elise Ferreira and Kylie Robinson finished with 26 and 24 assists, respectively.
What it Means: Oregon entered the night in a three-way tie for third place in the Pac-12 with Washington State and Utah after winning five straight and six of its last seven. A loss to the Cougars and a win by the Utes over Cal moves the Ducks to fifth in the conference, with second-place Washington up next on Sunday.
Notable: Murphy also led the Ducks with two service aces … Oregon moved to 6-3 in five-set matches this season, and 8-3 on the road … The Ducks hit .333 in the third set and .393 in the fourth, finishing the match at .253 … Bacon surpassed 500 career kills.
Up Next: The No. 16 Ducks will face the No. 12 Huskies at 2 p.m. PT Sunday on Pac-12 Network.