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EUGENE - The No. 19 University of Oregon volleyball team (7-0) posted its fourth sweep of the season Friday night thanks to a 25-11, 25-22, 25-16 victory over American (6-2) in the first match of the Oregon Classic at McArthur Court.
UO utilized another balanced attack to beat the Eagles in their-first ever meeting as four Ducks posted between seven and 12 kills, the team hit +.300 (.333) for the fourth time this season, and logged its second-highest ace total of the year (11).
“We did good things at times,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “They’re a solid team that will likely go to the tournament again, but we have to stop making so many errors, be more vocal and play smarter. It was a good thing that we pulled out the second set. We hung in there better tonight than the matches earlier this week on the road. We’re a good serving and passing team, and we dug the ball better. Lauren (Plum) did a good job of spreading the ball around, and Ariana continues to raise her play.”
Sophomore outside hitter Katherine Fischer hit a career-high and team season-high .647 and connected on 12 kills – the second time that she’s led the team in each category in 2010 - and also ranked second on the squad in digs (6) and third in blocks (2).
For the second straight match, senior outside hitter Heather Meyers tied her career high in aces (6), but this time in only 2 1/2 sets of action compared with Tuesday’s mark in five sets at Portland State. Meyers again tied the fifth-best mark in school history and is only the third Duck to have multiple matches with six or more kills with former All-American Sue Harbor (7, 6) and former All-Pac-10 honoree Michelle Krebsbach (6x2).
Meyers nearly equaled her preseason career high in aces (5) in the first set alone when she had four, including three in UO’s 7-0 run to open the match.
Altogether, the Temecula, Calif., native finished with eight kills, hit .294, and added five digs and two blocks en route to a team-best 15-point evening.
Freshman middle blocker Ariana Williams added nine kills and a .438 hitting mark - the fourth match in '10 that she's topped .400.
Freshman setter Lauren Plum posted 36 assists, seven digs, three blocks and an ace, and one of her three kills halted a four-point run by AU in the third set that drew the Eagles within 15-13, and initiated a 10-3 Duck run to close the match.
Sophomore outside hitter Jocelyn Levig led the team in blocks (6) for the fourth straight match and tied her second-highest total of the year behind her nine in five sets at Seattle earlier this week.
Sophomore libero Haley Jacob led the team in digs (10) for the sixth straight match, and registered a double-digit tally for the fifth time this season and second time in a three-set contest.
For American – NCAA tourney qualifiers eight of the last nine seasons – the Eagles hit .112 as a team – the second-lowest by a Duck opponent in ’10 and just ahead of Florida Gulf Coast’s .072 mark last week in Eugene.
Category leaders for the visitors included Juliana Crum (6 kills, .267, 6 kills), Krysta Cicala (15 assists), Katerina Cinkova (1 ace), Cassandra Ricketts (1 ace), Angelina Waterman (5 digs) and Bianca Richardson (3 blocks)
In the first set, AU scored only 11 points – a season-low by a Duck opponent – while UO combined on eight aces and four blocks and hit .361 in the stanza (compared with .091 for the Eagles).
Offensively, AU clicked more in the second set thanks to its .323 hitting mark and stayed within two points of UO until the final point of the set. American even led by a point at 18-17, 19-18 and 20-19, before the Ducks ultimately pulled out the 25-22 decision thanks a 4-1 finishing run that included two kills by Fischer, another by Plum and an AU service error.
In the third set, after UO jumped out to an 8-4 lead, but American cut it to two points, 15-13. Oregon, however, ended the match on a 10-3 run that featured two kills by sophomore outside hitter Lauren Gross, and a pair of aces by Levig in the final 6-0 run.
Looking ahead, the Ducks return to action vs. Siena (1-5) at Mac Court, Sunday, Sept. 13 for a noon 'Youth Day' match. Kids 12 and under get in for only $1, and a free post-game clinic and autograph session follows immediately after.
Before that match, American and Siena will face each other at Mac Court, Saturday, Sept. 12 in a 5 p.m. match with free admission.
QUICK QUACKS: UO is off to its fifth 7-0 start the last six years under head coach Jim Moore (and was 6-1 the other season in 2008). … The Ducks are a perfect 28-0 at home in regular season non-conference action under Moore who is also 61-3 overall in home and away regular season non-conference action, 103-60 overall at UO, and 455-216 overall in his 22nd year as a collegiate head coach. … With her six aces Friday, Meyers owns 134 career-wise – tops among Pac-10 active players - and still fourth-best all-time for UO and only three behind former great Teri Kramer (137, 1984-87). … Meyers also stands fifth among active Pac-10 players in career kills (1,082) and total blocks (226).
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