EUGENE – Liz Brenner’s 23 kills were not enough to propel Oregon past No. 2 Washington at Matthew Knight Arena, Friday night as the No. 21 Oregon volleyball team (8-4, 1-1) fell in four sets, 25-23, 25-19, 29-31, 25-8.
The third-largest volleyball crowd in school history packed Matthew Knight Arena for the rivalry match with 4,668 fans in attendance.
While the Huskies entered the week with a stellar offense and the second-best hitting percentage in the nation, it was the defense that proved to be too much for Oregon. The Huskies had 21.5 blocks on the night, forcing Oregon into a hitting percentage of .121.
Brenner was used often in the Oregon attack, getting 64 attack attempts, converting on 23, the most by any member of the Ducks squad this season. The junior also kept 16 Washington attacks off the floor for her second double-double of the season.
Each of the first two sets were reminiscent of Oregon’s contest earlier in the week against in-state rival Oregon State, where the Ducks got off to sluggish starts before rallying back later in the set. The difference was Washington was able to keep the length and frequency of Oregon’s spurts in check, and responded with their own.
The Ducks went down 10-4 in the first set before ticking off six-straight to even the match at 10 apiece. Washington created separation later in the set but the home side came back to rally again and draw within one point after an 8-1 run, making the score 18-19. Washington shut down Oregon’s momentum there, though, holding on for a 25-23 victory.
It was a 5-1 deficit in the second set which was quickly erased when the two teams evened out at 10 points. Washington’s .344 hitting mark in the set was too much for the Ducks to handle as they continued to a 25-19 win.
There was no need for an early rally in the third set after the Ducks took a 6-5 lead and never allowed the Huskies to go ahead until the 17-16 mark. Even then, the two teams traded points to the very end. Each team had two set points which were not converted and it was three-consecutive points by the Ducks which kept them alive with a 31-29 win.
“I think we’re right there after those first three sets,” head coach Jim Moore said. “I’d rather be trying to figure out how to go up than to be hanging on for dear life, which is kind of what we did last year. We just need to keep battling.”
With the crowd buzzing and momentum on their side, Oregon headed to the fourth set where the tense-back-and-forth match continued to a score of 7-6 in favor of the Huskies. The second-ranked team would slam the door on an upset there, embarking on an 18-2 run to finish the set, 25-8.
“They jumped on us,” Moore said about the fourth set. “Which is what a good team does. We’re there, but we have to maintain pressure the whole time.”
The loss brought Oregon’s five-match and 15-set win streak to a halt.
The Ducks will be on the road next week in the Southwest when they travel to Arizona, Friday, Oct. 4 and No. 16 Arizona State, Sunday, Oct. 6.Washington vs Oregon (Sep 27, 2013)
Volleyball Box ScoreThe Automated ScoreBook
#2 Washington vs #21 Oregon
(Sep 27, 2013 at Eugene, Ore.)
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 21.5|
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 4.0|
| Site: Eugene, Ore. (Matthew Knight Arena)
Date: Sep 27, 2013 Attend: 4668 Time: 2:05
Referees: Paula Martin, Jason Olson