This Week: The Oregon volleyball team will kick off the 2014 season by hosting the Oregon Invitational Aug. 29-Aug. 30. The Ducks will start with a match against Ohio State at 7 p.m., Friday, which will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. On Saturday, Oregon will play Central Arkansas at 9 a.m. and Illinois State at 3 p.m.
Live Coverage: Every match will be streamed for free on www.goducks.com/live, while each of Oregon’s matches will also be broadcast on KWVA 88.1 FM.
Promotions: Friday is Bi-Mart $3 day – Mention the promotion and get a $3 dollar general admission ticket.
Saturday is back to school student night – Bring school supplies to benefit the 4J school district and receive a $5 general admission ticket.
About the Buckeyes: It was a tale of two seasons for Ohio State in 2013, which started by winning its first 13 matches before reaching conference play where the team went 5-14. The team’s offense will need to find a new route, as it can no longer go through the graduated Kaitlyn Leary who led the team with 4.85 kills per set and took almost twice as many attempts as the next hitter. A pair of sophomores could lead the attack this season in Kylie Randall and Taylor Sandbothe.
About the Sugar Bears: Central Arkansas is the class of the Southland Conference, going 18-0 in conference last season and 29-4 overall. The Sugar Bears advanced to the NCAA tournament where they fell to Purdue in three sets. CAU spread the ball around on the offensive end with six players averaging more than two kills per set and will return their top hitter in junior Heather Schnars.
About the Redbirds: Illinois State is coming off a 19-13 season and 11-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Redbirds return their top attacker in Ashley Rosch (3.53 k/s) and their libero Emily Orrick who averaged 5.53 digs per set.
Conference/National Rankings: Oregon enters the season effectively 26th, as the top team receiving votes in the AVCA coaches’ poll. Four members of the Pac-12 are ranked in the top 25 and a total of six Oregon opponents this season.
Wins Record in Sight: Head coach Jim Moore is 186-98 in his nine-year career at Oregon, only 10 wins behind Karla Rice (196-67) as the all-time winningest coach in Oregon history.
Starting Strong: Oregon has won its last 10 season-opening matches, spanning Moore’s entire career at Oregon. The last time the Ducks opened the season against a Big 10 opponent was 2011, when Oregon defeated top-ranked Penn State.
Tough Tests: The Ducks have a grueling schedule in 2014 according to the AVCA preseason coaches’ poll. Twelve of Oregon’s 22 opponents are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll.
Kill Count: Liz Brenner finished her junior season 10th on the Oregon career kills list. Brenner has amassed 1,268 kills and is only 15 away from Kelly Russell and Dawn Charrion who share eighth place with 1,283.
Pac’s Preseason Picks: The Oregon volleyball team was slotted tied for fifth in the preseason Pac-12 coaches’ poll. The Ducks came in with 70 points, even with California and three points behind Arizona State. Stanford was picked to win the conference, edging USC by one point.