The Ducks swept the Southern California schoolc this past week, but not in football or basketball; try volleyball. Once the down dog in Pac-12 volleyball, Oregon has risen to the top of the volleyball world under the patient guidance of co-coaches Jim Moore and his wife Stacy Metro. Though Moore is nominally the head coach; in actuality, he and Metro equally share coaching duties. A practice unusual in many other collegiate sports, having a husband and wife co-coach a team, isn’t unheard of in volleyball. During a game timeout, one may see Metro giving players instructions while Moore listens and often, while Moore commands the huddle, Metro will take a star player aside for special instruction.
Before Moore and Metro came to town, the Duck women had never had a winning season; but under their tutelage, the Ducks have reached the NCAA tournament in seven of their nine years in Eugene. And, in 2012 the Ducks played in the National Championship. That year the Ducks had two players, Alaina Bergsma and Lauren Plum, named as First Team All-Americans. Bergsma was also recognized as the collegiate Player of the Year that year.
Volleyball in the Pac-12 is brutal. Right now, the Conference has seven of the 25 top-ranked teams according to the latest RPI statistics. In those rankings, Stanford is number one, Washington number four and Oregon’s most recent opponents, UCLA and USC, 17 and 25 respectively. With Bergsma and Plum gone, this figured to be a rebuilding year for the Ducks, but no one told Moore and Metro. Oregon holds a hefty number eight RPI and is in line to host two first round regional tournament games in Matt Knight Arena. The future looks bright for the women Ducks with freshmen standouts, Frankie Shebby, an outside hitter from Mater Dei High School in California, and setter Maggie Scott from Lafayette High in Missouri already making fantastic plays.
If you’ve never taken in a Oregon volleyball game, I’d highly recommend it. You won’t believe the grace, power, athleticism and competitive fire these young women display. If the Ducks do earn the right to host the first and second round regional games, it would be during the week of December 4th. Keep your fingers crossed, get your tickets and Go Ducks.
Top Photo by Ryan Kang
Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, I attended the University of Oregon and during my collegiate summers, I worked in a lumber mill and also fought range fires on the Oregon High Desert for the Bureau of Land Management. After graduating from college at the University of Oregon, I swung from being budding hippy to cop work. I’m still wondering about how that came about. I was a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, I obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, my daughter and a spunky bichon frise named Pumpkin. I’ve had short stories publishing in two Main Street Press anthologies. Harkness is my first novel.
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