Season Ends vs Kansas in NCAA First Round
OMAHA, Neb. – Brooke Nuneviller and Taylor Borup combined for 27 kills but No. 19 Oregon suffered a straight-set loss to Kansas in Thursday's first-round match of the NCAA Tournament. With the result, the Ducks finish the season with a 22-9 record and their fourth NCAA appearance in the past five years.
"I thought Kansas did a great job and executed really well," head coach Matt Ulmer said. "They kept a lot of pressure on us and served us tough. We are disappointed in the way we played, something that I hope motivates us moving."
With a match-high 17 kills and 11 digs, Nuneviller recorded her 17th double-double of the season. She also ends the year with double-digit kills in the final 12 matches of the season, and reached at least 15 kills in nine of those outings.
Borup, in the final match of her career, put down 10 kills while hitting .370 to go along with nine digs. Defensively, libero Georgia Murphy led all players with 18 digs.
Kansas (17-11) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in each of the first two sets, and only in the first did the Ducks pull even—something they did four times. However, with the score tied at 12-all in the opener, Kansas won four of the next five points to take control of play. Abby Hansen saved a set point with a kill on an overpass but the Jayhawks won the next point to secure the 1-0 match lead.
An early 6-3 deficit in the second forced Ulmer to call a timeout. The Ducks pulled to within one on four occasions—as late as 16-17—before KU used a mini surge to take a 20-16 advantage. Once again facing set points, Oregon extended play with an ace by Elise Ferreira but a serving error on the next point sent Kansas to the two-set advantage.
"When we come to the huddle (between points), we're just trying to slow it down," Borup said. "When the game gets out of hand and it feels like you're chasing them, you come together and try to focus on the fundamentals that you can control first."
Down three in the third set, the Ducks rattled off four of five points to pull even at 11-all, capping the run with a kill by Karson Bacon. The Jayhawks pulled ahead 17-13 but a quick surge—capped by a kill from Nuneviller—brought Oregon back to within one and forced KU to call its first timeout.
Out of the huddle, KU won the next four points for a 21-17 lead. The Ducks didn't get closer than two for the remainder of the match—a long rally at 22-20 could have cut the deficit to one. Borup recorded one final kill to fight off a match point but the Jayhawks won the next to secure the sweep.
"Not the outcome we wanted and not the performance we wanted to give but very grateful to have been here," Ulmer said.
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