After dropping the first set of today’s match, the Oregon Ducks took the next three and sent the Washington State Cougars packing, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-23.
The Cougars started strong and rattled off a couple of points before Oregon brought the pace back up, battling neck-and-neck in the early stages of the first set. Here we see Mimi Colyer with one of the backcourt kills that she is so good at:
WSU is a team that blocks very well and their hitters are good at placing shots where there will be problems defending them.
The Cougars began to pull away mid-set. Oregon attempted to pull closer off of great effort, especially defensively. Unfortunately, this video cuts off the first part of a long rally made possible by an outstanding dig from Brooke Nuneviller:
With the Cougars having built a four-point lead, they were only to happy to let the Ducks match their points. WSU has some hitters that are very good at disguising off-speed kills; maybe some of the best that I’ve seen thus far. Oregon remained four points or so behind for the rest of the set and that’s how it ended.
The Ducks were starting to show some fire. The Cougars went into this match being 14-0 in games where they took the first set. That was going to come to an end. The Ducks started out on a 3-0 run to start the second set, and then had an 8-1 run to take a nine-point lead, 15-6.
WSU didn’t give up and almost got back into the set. A 6-1 run to get within three at 24-21 was not close enough, and a Mimi Colyer kill ended any Cougar thoughts of winning the second set.
In the third set, Oregon scored an early lead but the Cougars tied the set, 4-4. A 6-1 run gave the Ducks a comfortable lead and forced a WSU timeout to regroup with Oregon up 10-5. The serving was excellent in this portion of the set, with Elise Agi and Hannah Pukis both serving up aces. The Ducks kept up the pressure, and this crazy rally, topped with a Mimi Colyer kill, put the Ducks up by nine:
The Cougars answered with an 8-1 run to get within two, 21-19.
The Ducks went to set point, 24-21, but the scrappy Cougars saved two set points before Oregon took the third set with another Mimi Colyer kill.
The fourth set started with both sides trading points to tie at 2-2, with kills from Brooke Nuneviller and Mimi Colyer, along with a Colyer service ace.
An 8-3 run by the Ducks put them up by seven, 14-7. WSU did not give up and clawed back with a 6-1 run of their own.
WSU was not done; after tying the set 17-17, the Cougars went on a 4-1 run to go up by two late in the set.
The sides traded points and Oregon was down 20-22, but the Ducks roared back, capped by a pair of Gloria Mutiri kills, bookended with kills by Nuneviller and Colyer.
Match point was an impressive defensive display, with Mimi Colyer throwing down the final point of each winning Ducks set.
Oregon and WSU were statistically evenly matched this game, with the Cougars holding a slight edge in hitting percentage, .313 to .307. Blocking was also even at eight apiece.
Mimi Colyer was the kills leader today with 25, but Brooke Nuneviller notched another double-double with 16 kills and 11 digs. Georgia Murphy was the digs leader with 19, and Daley McClellan had 14 digs in an overall outstanding Oregon defensive effort.
As with the Huskies a couple of days ago, the Ducks have steadily improved their service game and their four service errors to WSU’s seven was a critical factor in today’s win.
Oregon is a perfect 9-0 at Matthew Knight Arena this season. They next travel to the mountain schools, where they will face the Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday, 11/10, and the Utah Utes on Sunday, 11/13.