Duck Volleyball: Matthew Knight Madness
Matt Knight Madness was featured at Matthew Knight Arena last night, and if you missed it, you missed out! The #5 Womens volleyball team played the Washington State Cougars, and they were followed with appearances by the Oregon Mens and Womens basketball teams.
The PAC-12 has traditionally featured some of the best volleyball teams in the nation, and this year is no exception, with Washington, Stanford, Oregon, USC, and UCLA all ranked in the top 7 in the nation! The Ducks ladies are a joy to watch, and took care of the Washington State Cougars in straight sets.
It may have been because of some falloff from last weekend’s defeat at the hands on the Cardinal, or getting into the swing of things playing the first set against the Washington schools, but it appeared that the Ducks needed some play to get going in the first set. There were several service errors, which is purely a mental error because there is no play impeding the server from getting the ball into play. The Ducks offset that with some outstanding point play spread out over several players. Alaina Bergsma was her solid self, but Ariana Williams also scored some feisty points. Oregon had a handful of players contributing points in the first set and it was the solid play of many players that brought the first set to a 25-20 victory for Oregon.
Give unranked Washington State credit for providing some adversity to the Ducks, and this was clearly evident in the second set. The Ducks and Cougars traded leads back and forth, with the Cougars getting the upper hand in the middle of the set. With Washington State up by a few points, Liz Brenner entered the picture and gave the Ducks the spark they needed to overcome the Courgars’ pluckiness. Brenner exerted her will in scoring some much needed points, and before you knew it Oregon was up 22-18 when Washington State took a timeout. The body language of the two benches told the story of the game from then on – The Cougars’ bench was huddled together, working out strategy, and all the Duck ladies were loose and relaxed. Oregon would take the second set 25-21.
Then, then hammer fell. Oregon came firing out of the gate in establishing a quick 4-0 lead, and they never let up. A service ace from Katherine Fischer brought the score to 13-4 and Washington State was as good as done. To their credit, Washington State never gave up and fought back positively the entire game, regardless of the score. They were simply outclassed on this night by a highly ranked Oregon Duck team, one that played up to their #5 ranking in dominating Washington State to the tune of 25-12 in the 3rd set.
This has been and will continue to be a special season for Oregon volleyball. Coach Moore has done wonders with this Oregon team, and it’s all the more impressive considering that the PAC-12 continues to be, by far, the strongest conference in volleyball. You owe it to yourself to catch some of the excitement that this fine Oregon team is providing us, right here in Eugene. Your next opportunity to do so is tonight when the Oregon Ducks host the undefeated Washington Huskies, 7:00 pm at Matt Court. Come support your Ducks as they attempt to unseat the #2 team in the nation!
Pictures provided by Morgan L. Blackwell