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Ducks Protect Perfect Home Record

Nov 6, 2022

EUGENE, Ore. — Mimi Colyer tied her career high with 25 kills and the Oregon volleyball team remained perfect at home this season with a 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 win Sunday over Washington State at Matthew Knight Arena.

After dropping the opening set, the Ducks hit .552 without a single error in set two and rallied back to win. Colyer had kills for the final point in each of the last three sets, matching her 25-kill performance against UW on Oct. 9. Brooke Nuneviller added 16 kills with 11 digs Sunday, Gloria Mutiri had nine kills, Hannah Pukis had a season-high 58 assists, and middles Kiari Robey and Karson Bacon combined for 12 kills with four blocks.

Oregon extended its winning streak to seven matches, continuing to trail first-place Stanford by two games in the Pac-12 Conference race. The No. 16 Ducks improved to 17-5 overall and 11-3 in the conference, and 9-0 at home.

"I think you saw two really good teams really going for it," UO coach Matt Ulmer said. "I told the group, I thought it really felt like playoff atmosphere — that kind of energy. We knew we were gonna get their best shot; I think we were ready to give our best shot. And I thought both teams showed up."

How It Happened: Two kills by Colyer and one by Nuneviller got the Ducks out to a 6-4 lead in the opening set, and an ace by Elise Agi made it 8-6. The Cougars began to click at that point, and after Robey got Oregon back into a tie at 13-13, WSU ripped off the next four points to take control. The Ducks closed within two a couple of times late in the set, but Washington State held on to win.

At that point the Cougars were in good position to complete a season sweep and end a six-match UO win streak for the second time this season — WSU did just that with a win in Pullman on Oct. 7. But the Ducks fed off their home crowd, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in set two with consecutive kills by Mutiri. It was 7-5 when Oregon went on an 8-1 run that included a block by the duo of Nuneviller and Robey, an ace from Nuneviller and a kill by Robey.

Bacon and Colyer had two kills each as Oregon extended the lead from 16-9 to 20-12, and Colyer had kills for the final two UO points as the Ducks evened the match. The Ducks had 16 kills with no errors on 29 attacks in the set, including seven kills from middles Bacon and Robey.

"We just we needed to play our game, stick to the game plan and — again, I've said this a thousand times — we just had to play Oregon volleyball," Colyer said. "We had to be present in the match and everybody needed to do their job."

Colyer had two early kills as Oregon took a 4-2 lead in set two, and Agi had another ace during a four-point run to an 8-4 lead. Kills by Nuneviller and Colyer helped the Ducks open up a 20-12 lead, at which point WSU rallied within 20-17. But Nuneviller had kills for the next two UO points, and Colyer had kills for the Ducks' final three points as they took a 2-1 lead in the match.

Oregon jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the fourth set on two kills each by Colyer and Nuneviller, plus an ace by Colyer. An ace by Pukis keyed a four-point run to an 11-6 lead, and Mutiri gave the Ducks a 15-10 lead. Again the Cougars found their rhythm, and they rallied into a 20-18 lead. It was 22-20 when Nuneviller scored to spark a 3-0 run, and after WSU tied it at 23-23, the Ducks finished off the match with kills by Mutiri and Colyer.

"I think Washington State's really, really good — a lot better than their RPI or what people know," Ulmer said. "Maybe it's just when they play us, but every time we see them I think they're pretty, pretty great. Our offense is pretty good, and I know we still hit .300, but it felt like we earned every one of those. There were not very many easy ones."

Notable: Nuneviller had her 16th double-double of the season. … Pukis exceeded her previous season-high of 52 kills. Her career high of 62 was set while playing at WSU in 2019. … The Ducks recorded their first win over Washington State in Matthew Knight Arena since 2018.

Quotable:
UO coach Matt Ulmer
On Daley McClellan's career-high 14 digs

"This was Daley's best match. They attack her area of the court a lot, and they do it really well. They score a lot in that area. And so she had a big assignment today, especially playing behind Hannah, one of our smaller blockers. And I thought she was fantastic."

On Colyer raising her game in the second round of conference play
"I see her getting better every day. And not necessarily just attacking but her blocking, her defense, serving — each piece of her game. We're not having her pass much but in practice her passing is getting better too; she's working the most on that and she's not even doing it in a match. But you're just seeing her bloom."

Up Next: The Ducks play at Colorado on Thursday at 6 p.m.