For the first time this season, the Oregon Ducks came back to win a match when they were down 2-1, and won today’s match in five sets; 22-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-9. Previously, when the Ducks found themselves in a 2-1 hole, they wound up losing those matches (against Minnesota, Penn St., Washington, and USC).
In returning to her role as setter, Elise Ferreira has looked far more comfortable against the LA schools than she did last weekend against the Washington schools. Her sharp play was a big reason why Oregon was able to rally after dropping the third set.
In the first set, the Ducks traded ties before gaining a couple of three-point leads at 10-7 and 12-9. Here we see a lightning fast quick kill from Kiari Robey after UCLA has trouble navigating a pass off the Brooke Nuneviller serve:
The Bruins would catch up in the latter 1⁄3 of the set, embarking on a 9-4 run that doomed Oregon’s chances to take the first set.
The Ducks came out on fire in the second set. Take a look at this dig by the underrated Georgia Murphy, that translates into a perfect set by Nuneviller for the wicked Mimi Colyer cross-court kill.
Both sides battled and notched 13 ties before Oregon took the set victory. Sheer grit and determination by the Ducks allowed them to fend off three UCLA set points.
The Ducks dug themselves quite the hole in the third set, finding them down by nine at 10-19. Nose to the grindstone, Oregon battled back.
The Ducks nearly pulled the rabbit out of the hat, and got out of their hole. They had an incredible comeback, where a 7-1 comeback to tie the set at 24 was nullified by a UCLA challenge on a net violation. UCLA won the challenge and set three ended anti-climatically.
Both teams played tough in the fourth set as well, trading ties to mid-set. During a rally where Oregon was establishing a lead cushion, Brooke Nuneviller was denied three consecutive kill attempts before finally delivering the fourth with a sideline kill (also note Murphy’s fantastic dig to keep the point alive).
A high velocity Mimi Colyer kill that took us to 23-18 went straight into the right side of defender Anna Dodson’s face. You could see the red on her head from the impact and she was visibly shaken. Even though she gave the UCLA sideline a thumbs-up, Oregon coach Matt Ulmer did one of the classiest things you’ll ever see in sports. He took an Oregon timeout. UCLA had no timeouts left in the set, so Ulmer took the timeout so that the Bruins could have a medical look at one of their stars.
Nuneviller’s 19th kill of the night (another side shot) would tie the Ducks and Bruins up at 2-2.
In the final set, UCLA briefly had a lead at 2-3, but that would be it as the Ducks began building a lead. The Bruins would not be able to bridge the gap.
On the strength of a 7-2 run, Oregon would put the set – and this match – to bed.
Mimi Colyer was the points and kills leader with 25.5 and 23. respectively. Brooke Nuneviller had another double-double with 22 kills and 10 digs, and entered Oregon volleyball’s top 10 career kills list. Kiari Robey made some noise today with 10 kills and 8 blocks. It was good to see Colby Neal back in the game; the Ducks really miss what she can bring defensively. Elise Ferreira contributed 66 assists, and last – but not least – Georgia Murphy’s 17 digs went a long, long way toward keeping points alive.
The numbers bear out Oregon’s effort in putting away sets 4 and 5. Set four had a hit percentage of .433 and a kill percentage of .567. Set five had a hit percentage of .571 and a kill percentage of .643. Those are outstanding numbers and you’re not in danger of losing a set when your offense is that successful.
Oregon returns to Eugene this coming weekend to play the Mountain schools in the friendly environment of Matthew Knight Arena.