EUGENE, Ore- After a back-and-forth first set, the No. 21 Oregon volleyball team (11-6, 4-3 Pac-12) took control on its way to a straight-set victory over Colorado (11-6, 3-4), Friday, 25-21, 25-16, 25-18.
The team was led by junior outside hitter Liz Brenner who racked up her team-leading fifth double-double of the season with 14 kills and 11 digs. Brenner finished the first set with only two kills, but progressively got hotter as the match went on, tallying five kills in the second set and seven in the third.
Her contributions on the stat sheet, while impressive, have become habit for Brenner who was in line with her season averages of 4.18 kills/set and 2.76 digs/set.. But after the match, head coach Jim Moore noted what stood out even more to him was something not measured statistically.
"The one thing Liz is doing for sure is bringing energy,” he said. “She is awesome at that.”
That offensive production took a while to generate after the Ducks had only 11 kills from their 25 points in a close first set. Five of those kills came in the team’s 6-0 run to end the set coming out of a timeout called by Moore. The Ducks were down 19-21, during the frame where neither team had an advantage of more than three points, but five-straight kills finished off by a Colorado attacking error propelled the Ducks in the right direction going forward.
The third set looked almost a polar opposite from how the team started, as Oregon had 22 kills, the most by the Ducks in a set this season. The team hit .432 in the final set, thanks in large part to Finley and Williams combining for nine kills on 10 attempts. The Buffaloes did their best to stay with the Green and Yellow and only trailed 17-16 before an 8-2 run by Oregon sealed the match.
The Ducks pulled away a little earlier in the second set, as a 13-4 run gave Oregon an eight-point cushion at 21-13, allowing it to cruise in to a 25-16 set win.
The defensive performance was even more well-rounded than the offense, as five Oregon players had seven-or-more digs, in addition to the team’s 8.5 blocks. Amanda Benson led the charge with 16 digs, and Tatum Norton’s nine digs off the bench did not go unnoticed by Moore.
"Everyone was on tonight,” Moore said. “Tatum Norton sparked us at the end, she did in game two as well, just a lot of real good defense."
Oregon will finish the weekend against Utah, Sunday, which is coming off a four-set win at Oregon State. That match is slated to start at noon. Both teams are 4-3 in conference play this season, allowing the victor a chance to take sole possession of fourth place.
"We obviously knew this would be a big weekend for us,” Brenner said. “Colorado and Utah have been having pretty good seasons. We have to win that first point and play hard and go from there."
The Automated ScoreBook
Colorado vs #21 Oregon
(Oct 18, 2013 at Eugene, Ore.)
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 7.0|
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 8.5|
| Site: Eugene, Ore. (Matthew Knight Arena)
Date: Oct 18, 2013 Attend: 1781 Time: 1:20
Referees: Alan Chinn, Mickey Matthews