There was no sugar-coating the way this weekend of action began for UO athletics. Not only did the football team suffer its first defeat of the season Thursday at Stanford, but earlier in the day women's soccer wrapped up its first season under coach Kat Mertz with a loss in Corvallis.
The defeat capped a confounding year under Mertz, who succeeded in coaxing a more organized attack from the Ducks, and got strong play in the back end from her defenders and goalie Abby Steele. But ultimately, goals were just too few and far between for the UO women.
Things began to turn around Friday, however, when the men's basketball team kicked off its season with an impressive win over Georgetown on a military installation in South Korea. The Ducks were without suspended sophomore Dominic Artis and Ben Carter but got great leadership from veteran transfers Joe Young and Jason Calliste. And they somewhat surprisingly held their own on the boards, a point of emphasis in the wake of Arsalan Kazemi's graduation.
The UO men play their home opener Wednesday evening against Western Carolina. The 8 p.m. game will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.
On Saturday, the Oregon women's basketball team also got off to an impressive start. The Ducks set school records for points scored and three-pointers made in beating Cal State-Bakersfield, 131-91. It's been a long time coming, but this could finally be the sort of team envisioned when Paul Westhead was hired as head coach.
The women are at home again Tuesday night against Portland, a 7 p.m. game being streamed online by Pac-12 Networks.
Also Saturday, the athletic department dedicated a court in the name of Alex Rovello, who died in a diving accident this past spring. It was an emotional event capped by some heartfelt words from Rovello's father.
And on Sunday, the volleyball team finished the weekend with a flourish, recovering from Friday's loss at USC to beat UCLA in five sets. The Ducks rallied from a 2-0 hole to win in five sets for the second time in three matches.
The volleyball team returns home to face Stanford on Thursday and Cal on Friday, both 6 p.m. matches that -- you guessed it -- will be televised by Pac-12 Networks.