EUGENE – For the fifth straight season, the No. 16 University of Oregon volleyball team picked up AVCA National Player of the Week honors thanks to last weekend’s efforts by sophomore setter Lauren Plum.
The Poway, Calif., native led UO last Saturday to a 3-0 sweep of then-No. 7 Washington for the first time since 1995. Figuring in the Ducks’ 3-1 win over the then-No. 7 Huskies last year in Eugene – she has quarterbacked UO to half of its four wins in the last 32 matches in the series.
The night before in the 0-2 comeback win against WSU, she helped UO win its 12th straight match in the series (and the last four with her at setter).
Against No. 7 Washington, her 52 assists in three sets was a Pac-12 season high, and only two off her overall season high in four sets vs. WSU four weeks ago.
The Huskies came into the match leading the nation in blocks, and also ranked second in the league in opponent hitting percentage (.127). UO and Plum answered the challenge by staking the highest hitting mark by a UW foe this year (.283) – a full .040 higher than its previous opponent season best (UCLA, .243).
Her ability to evenly distribute the ball proved the difference and gave the balanced Duck offense four hitters with +10 kills for the fifth time this year, but first in three sets.
She also added 12 digs for her second double-double of the weekend and 15th career-wise. Her eighth double-doubles overall this year is tops among underclassmen and fourth-most in the league.
She entered Friday night’s Fox/Root Sports-TV match vs. WSU midway through the first set, and still ended with 45 assists, and logged half of the team’s four aces. She also posted a double-double with her 10 digs, and ranked second on the squad with her blocks season high (4) that doubled her previous 2011 best.
Thanks to last week's 12.12 assists/per set average, she improved to fifth nationally and first in the Pac-12 (11.80 per set), and a comparison of her other weekend vs. previous season averages follows: digs (2.75/2.44), aces (0.25/0.21), blocks (0.50/0.27) and points (1.06/0.81).
Last year, redshirt junior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma picked up AVCA National Player of the Week honors after UO swept then-returning NCAA qualifier Washington State and ended the then-No. 7 Washington’s 36-set season win streak in 3-1 decision in Eugene.
Against UW, she connected on match highs in kills (21), points (23) and hitting (.559); her kill tally was a team season high; and her hitting mark (.559) was third-best for UO in ‘10 and tops among efforts of 15 kills or more. The night before vs. the Cougars, she again led the team in kills (12) – her first honor of the season – and hit .417.
In 2009, All-American Sonja Newcombe picked up similar honors after the team’s wins against then-No. 5 Stanford and then-No. 14 California in Eugene, and in ’08 after home victories vs. then-No. 4 USC and then-No. 5 UCLA. In ’07, All-American Gorana Maricic was likewise tabbed after wins vs. then-No. 6 USC and then-No. 9 UCLA in Eugene.
Earlier this week, Plum picked up Oregon’s 10th Pac-12 Weekly Player of the Week honor in head coach Jim Moore’s seven years at the helm, and 19th all-time since 1986
Looking ahead to this weekend, the No. 16 Ducks (14-6, 7-5) remain at home and welcome Utah (8-14, 3-10) on Friday, October 28 at 7 p.m., and Colorado (5-16, 0-13) on Sunday, October 30 at 1 p.m.
Promotions-wise, Friday’s Utah match is a BiMart Family Night, and two adults & two children get admission for $12 at the door with a BiMart card. For Sunday’s Colorado match, kids 12 & under that wear their Halloween costumes get in free (with prizes awarded to the best costume).
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