Ducks Force Fifth, Fall to No. 20 Penn State
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Playing its second match of the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, the No. 18 Oregon volleyball team lost in five sets Saturday afternoon to No. 20 Penn State. The Ducks are now 4-2 this season. Brooke Nuneviller and Hannah Pukis each registered double-double performances and Gloria Mutiri collected 12 kills with no errors, good for a .444 hitting percentage.
Nuneviller tallied 16 kills and 16 digs for her second double-double in as many matches this weekend. Pukis finished the match with 47 assists and 13 digs while libero Georgia Murphy picked up 19 digs to lead the defense behind the block.
How It Happened
Playing in its third five setter of the season, the Ducks fell behind early in the decision frame but got on the board with a kill by redshirt freshman Reagan Hope. Penn State (8-0) jumped out to a 6-2 lead but Oregon pulled to within two after a PSU service error and a kill by Mutiri, her final tally of the match.
The Nittany Lions led 8-5 when the teams switched sides but UO answered with consecutive points—a kill by Colby Neal and an ace by Murphy—to cut their deficit to one. The Ducks, however, would get no closer with Penn State winning six of the final seven points of the match to secure the victory.
For a second-straight outing, Oregon dropped game one but unlike Friday against No. 3 Minnesota, the team answered with an emphatic victory in the set two. With the score tied at 4-all, the Ducks went on an 8-1 run and led 12-5 after a tandem block by Mutiri and Neal. Oregon pushed its advantage to 20-10 after freshman Mimi Colyer ended an extended rally with a kill.
The Ducks cashed in on their second set point with another kill out of the middle by Neal. The redshirt freshman from Poway, Calif., finished the match with nine kills and a team-high seven blocks. She hit .353 in the process.
The start of the third set was back and forth but Penn State used a five-point surge to take 15-12 lead before the media timeout. The Big Ten power never relinquished control of the set. Oregon pulled to within two—down 19-17—after a Neal kill but PSU rattled off six of the final eight points to take a 2-1 match advantage.
Once again, the Ducks were up to the challenge and jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the fourth frame. A block by Neal followed by consecutive PSU attack errors sent the Nittany Lions to a timeout. Back-to-back kills by Mutiri pushed the UO advantage to 11-4. With Oregon holding a 17-12 lead, Penn State began a comeback which consisted of a six-point run and a subsequent 18-17 advantage.
Consecutive blocks and an ace by Becca Morse pushed Oregon ahead, 21-19, and despite a push by Penn State, the Ducks never trailed the remainder of the set. Colyer gave UO a pair of set points with another kill, and on the team's second set point, an attack error by PSU sent the match to a final set.
The Ducks' non-conference schedule continues Sept. 17-18 at the Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla., with matches against South Carolina and host Miami (FL). Oregon is back at Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday, Sept. 25, to take on Stanford. Click HERE for Oregon's full schedule.
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