|Oregon vs. No. 6 Stanford|
|When||Thursday - 6 p.m.|
Wear your KIDSPORTS shirt for $1 GA
|Oregon vs. No. 20 California|
|When||Friday - 6 p.m.|
Bring two canned food items for $3 GA and a raffle ticket
EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon women’s volleyball team (14-10, 7-7) will play a pair of ranked opponents in the same week for the third time this season as No. 6 Stanford and No. 20 California come to Eugene, Thursday and Friday, respectively. Both matches will start at 6 p.m. and will be shown live on the Pac-12 Networks.
The Ducks are coming off a big five-set comeback against UCLA last week in which Oregon climbed out of a 2-0 hole to win the match and stay even in the Pac-12 with a 7-7 record. Both teams entered the match with 13-10 records, fighting for NCAA tournament positioning.
Jim Moore noted that the win was a big one in terms of the comeback effort, momentum and the playoff picture but when asked about what the team needs to secure a spot in the postseason, his frame of mind was much more narrow.
“(We’re) Just trying to get better,” he said. “We just try to get better on a consistent basis.”
Consistency, on a point-by-point basis, has been the message from Moore all season and no signs point to change now.
Those points will be well-earned, Thursday when Stanford, a staple at the top of the Pac-12 standings comes to town. While the Cardinal enter the week in third place, it is the conference’s leader in hitting percentage (.314) and blocks/set (2.99) where they rank fourth nationally in both categories.
“Not only are they big and physical but they’re disciplined on and off the court,” senior setter Lauren Plum said. “They don’t make many mistakes and we can’t make any mistakes.”
While Liz Brenner is having a career season in 2013, Moore noted that team success will come by varying the offensive attack and getting more hitters involved.
“We have to be more consistent, we have to have more people put the ball on the floor. It can’t be just Ari and Liz, we have to have more people put the ball on the floor.”
About the Cardinal: Stanford is the No. 6 team in the nation with an 18-5 record and an 11-3 conference record after a pair of losses to USC and one to Washington. The Cardinal has the fourth-best hitting percentage in the nation and tops in the conference (.314). Carly Wopat plays a major role in that figure as the senior is hitting .457 while also leading the team in kills (2.93/set). But Stanford is more than just Wopat, as six players average over 2.00 kills/set this season. In addition to the stellar offense, the team also ranks first in the conference in blocks/set (2.99), good enough for fourth nationally. Oregon fell to Stanford earlier this season in three sets, bookending the match with strong sets, both ending in close 25-22 scores.
About the Bears: California is No. 20 in the nation at 16-7 and 9-5 in conference. The Bears have racked up kills this season (ranking fourth in the nation) but have lacked efficiency as they rank 43rd in hitting percentage. Cal comes into the weekend on a three-match win streak with a win against UCLA before being the first team to sweep the mountain schools on the road this season. Adrienne Gehan is the team-leader on offense with 4.38 kills/set. Oregon went to five sets with Cal in Berkeley earlier this season and suffered a tough loss after leading the fifth set 11-9 until the Bears came back to win 15-13.
Conference/National Rankings: Oregon is receiving votes in the latest AVCA Coaches’ Poll Monday, Nov. 11, and would be ranked 27th if the poll was extended.
As of the Nov. 10, rankings Liz Brenner ranks third in the Pac-12 with a kills per set average of 4.45, a tally that ranks 18th in the nation.
Ariana Williams’ .357 hitting mark is eighth in the nation and 63rd in the country.
As a team, Oregon leads the conference in assists/set (13.83) and is second in both kills/set (14.55) and digs/set (16.76). The assists/set mark ranks fourth and nation while the team is 12th in kills.
Crazy Comeback: After trailing by two sets, 2-0 at UCLA last week, Oregon mounted its biggest comeback of the season to come back and win the match in five sets. The Ducks, who were dominated in the first two sets (25-13, 25-18) won with their backs against the wall in the third set, 27-25 and took control in the fourth and fifth sets winning 25-20, 15-9.
Statistical Anomaly: The win against UCLA was Oregon’s first win of the season when dropping the first two sets. In fact, it was the only time this season the Ducks had forced a fifth set from down 0-2. It also marked the first win for Oregon when trailing in hitting percentage and when hitting below .200 (.162).
Oregon Vs. Ranked Opponents: Oregon is 2-6 against ranked opponents this season, playing some of the nation’s finest. The Ducks most recently lost to No. 4 USC, Nov. 8, with the last ranked win coming against UCLA, Oct. 11.
In all, 10 of the 21 schools on Oregon’s schedule this season have been ranked in the AVCA top 25 at some point this season.
What’s Next: The Ducks will be on the road for the next three matches at Utah and Colorado next Firday and Sunday before traveling to Washington State, Wednesday, Nov. 27.