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No. 18 Ducks Pass Five-Set Test vs Rice

Sep 4, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. – The No. 18 Oregon volleyball team toughed out a five-set victory (21-25, 25-21, 25-20, 17-25, 15-11) Saturday night over Rice at Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks hit .458 in the decisive set on their way to a 4-0 mark through the first two weekends of the 2022 season.
 
Senior outside hitter Brooke Nuneviller tallied 20 kills and 15 digs, good for the 50th double-double of her career. She was one of three Ducks with a double-double against Rice (4-1), joined by Mimi Colyer with 12 kills and 11 digs, and setter Hannah Pukis with 52 assists and a career-high 24 digs.
 
Libero Georgia Murphy finished just off a double-double of her own with 23 digs and eight assists, both season highs. Freshman middle blocker Colby Neal put down a season-high 12 kills, coupled with a .421 hitting percentage.
 
How It Happened
In the final set, the Ducks won three of the first four points but a majority of the fifth game was back-and-forth and featured seven ties. Neal had a kill at 8-7 to give UO the lead when the teams switched sides but a block miscue by the Owls gave the home team the lead for good at 10-9. With a kill off the hand of Nuneviller, the Ducks had a 13-11 advantage and forced Rice into its second timeout.
 
Back-to-back kills by Morgan Lewis and Karson Bacon out of the huddle secured the home win over a Rice team just a few spots outside of the AVCA top-25 national poll. Bacon had seven kills on the day along with three blocks.
 
Six different UO players had at least one kill in the fifth set.
 
Oregon led 19-15 in the opening game but the visitors rallied with 10 of the final 12 points to take the one-set lead. It was the team's first first-set loss of the year.
 
The Ducks answered with victories in sets two and three. In the second set, Oregon used a 7-3 surge to turn a 10-9 lead into a 17-12 cushion. Rice pulled to within two late in the set with the Ducks up 23-21 but a kill from Gloria Mutiri brought on set point and followed by an attack error by Rice, the Ducks had tied the match.
 
Oregon controlled set three, never trailing and only being tied at 1-all. Nuneviller and Colyer combined for nine of the Ducks' 14 kills in the set. The home team built a lead as large as seven, up 15-8 following a kill by Colyer that forced a Rice timeout. The Owls trimmed their deficit down to three but the Ducks' second set point, Nuneviller iced the set with a kill.
 
In a near-mirror image—except this time in favor of the visitor—Rice never trailed in the fourth set and led by as much as eight on its way to tying the match and forcing a fifth.
 
Notable
In a match marked with extended rallies and tremendous scramble plays, both teams had five players with double-digit digs. Becca Morse was the Ducks' fifth player in double figures with 10 digs. Oregon combined for a season-high 88 digs, 20 more than their season-opening five setter against Long Beach State. Rice topped triple digits with 101 digs, paced by 32 from libero Nia McCardell.
 
Up Next
Oregon travels to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge (Sept. 9-10) and a pair of top-25 matchups against fourth-ranked Minnesota and No. 21 Penn State. The Ducks' next home match will be Sunday, Sept. 25, against Stanford. Click HERE for Oregon's full schedule.
 
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