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Ducks End Season in Heartbreaker to Iowa State in NCAA 3rd Round
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
Release Date: 12/12/2008
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*A boxscore and play-by-play is located in the LINKS box to the right, and a more detailed recap will be posted shortly.

 

AUSTIN, Texas - The No. 7-ranked and 11th-seeded University of Oregon volleyball ended its season Friday night with a 3-2 loss to Iowa State in the Gregory Gym at the University of Texas.

Oregon (25-9, 11-7) led the match 2-0 with 25-17 and 25-11 scores in the first two sets, before the Cyclones (22-12, 11-9) pulled off their second straight upset of a top-16 seed with winning scores of 25-22, 25-22 and 15-8 in the final three sets.

A weekend earlier, the returning Sweet 16 qualifiers Iowa State started its tourney run with a 3-1 win over Northern Iowa who had beaten the Cyclones during the regular season, then upset the sixth-seeded Minnesota Gophers, 3-1, in St. Paul, Minn., the next night.

UO had won its opening matches in Washington D.C. last weekend with a 3-0 win over Delaware and a 3-1 victory over North Carolina.

“It was a really disappointing way to end the season, especially after how well we played the first two sets,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “We had a tendency this year to let down, and that’s what happened again tonight. We began to worry about the outcome and it effected us the rest of the match. In the break after the second set, that’s all we talked about, keeping focus, and worrying about the play in front of us, yet that was what we couldn’t do at the end.”

UO was led in hitting by senior middle blocker Kristen Forristall (.556, 11 kills) and sophomore Heather Meyers (.480, 13 kills). Senior outside hitter Gorana Maricic had 20 kills her sixth +20 kill effort the season to go along with nine digs. Junior outside hitter Sonja Newcombe also narrowly missed the double-double with her nine kills and 13 digs.

Junior setter Nevena Djordjevic logged 53 assists - the 12th time in the last 13 matches and 17th overall in '08 that she had +40 assists. The Lazarevac, Serbia native also tied her team season high and personal career high in service aces (4), and junior serving specialist Amanda Westrick added three aces - her seventh match this season with two or more in the category.

Senior libero Katie Swoboda had 20 digs and was one of three Ducks in double-digit figures with Meyers (career high 17) and Newcombe (13). Enesi again led the team in blocks (9) - her and the team's second-highest mark of '08 - and Djordjevic and Forristall each added five blocks.

For Iowa State, five players had double-digit kill totals as Victoria Henson finished with a team-high 18 kills, and Debbie Stadick hit .296. Setter Kaylee Manns ended with 54 assists, Ashley Mass led the team in digs (20), Mass and Caitlin Mahoney both had three service aces, and Jen Malcom and Manns shared the team high in blocks (3).

The Cyclones hit only .196 for the match the second-lowest tally by a team to defeat the Ducks this season after it hit .163 in the first set, -0.38 in the second, 209 in the third, .154 in the fourth and .650 in the fifth set. The team with the lowest hitting mark that still beat UO fellow Sweet 16 advancer Illinois in the opening week of the season - managed a .187 mark in August’s five-set win at home which was also a comeback from a 2-0 deficit.

In contrast Friday, Oregon hit .272 overall for the match and topped .300 in the first (.389), second (.524) and fifth sets (.316), while its marks in the third and fourth sets were .222 and .087, respectively.

On defense, UO registered 17 blocks its second-highest mark of the season after it registered 19 in a five-set loss at then-No. 12 USC on Halloween evening. The Ducks also served nine aces its second-best mark of the season and one better than Iowa State. In other team categories, Iowa State held slight edges in digs (70-69) and assists (62-56).

“We weren’t complacent,” Forristall said, “but at the same time, we played not to lose at the end instead of to win. We lost our focus and concentrated on the wrong things.”

Friday's game marked only the second time UO had advanced to the third round in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field after it had done so also in 2007. Fourth-year Duck mentor Jim Moore now sports a 4-3 postseason mark with the Ducks in his three trips. Prior to his arrival, UO had only won only one postseason match in the tourney that originated in 1981, and had a 1-4 mark in its prior appearances in 1994 (1-1), '86 (0-1), '87 (0-1) and '89 (0-1).

The 2008 season was another memorable one in the rapid ascent of the Duck program into the national elite. UO notched its most wins overall (25) since 1984 (27), and tied its best Pac-10 finish and record (fourth, 11-7) since 1987. Oregon also claimed its third straight top-six consecutive league finish (fourth-’08, fifth-’07; sixth-’06) since the origin of the Pacific-10 Conference in 1986.

Head Coach Jim Moore’s overall Duck coaching mark (76-50) is equally impressive considering UO had not finished above .500 since 1990 (15-14), while his teams have posted at least 17 wins three straight seasons (25-’08, 22-’07, 17-’06) for the first time since 1985-86-87 (17-22-17).

Highlights from the regular season included a 7-7 mark against NCAA qualifiers, a school record 15-match home winning streak, six wins over top-25 ranked teams (including four, top-10 programs), and top-15 rankings the whole campaign and a stretch of nine top-10 rankings to end the regular season that included an all-time high of sixth in mid-October.

In return for Oregon’s success on the court, McArthur Court in Eugene backed the Ducks like never before with a new school record (3,817) and the third-best mark ever (3,169) the same weekend vs. then-No. 5 Washington and Washington State in mid-November to give Moore and his program eight of the largest 14 crowds in school history.

On the individual front, senior Marija Milosevic was one of four Duck seniors who played their final collegiate matches, and three of them left indelible marks on the school’s all-time career lists (with Maricic and Forristall playing only two collegiate seasons):

- Gorana Maricic, Subotica, Serbia points (3rd, 1217), kills (9th, 1089) and attacks (ninth, 2542)
- Kristen Forristall, Oregon City, Ore. hitting (second, .316)
- Katie Swoboda, Portland, Ore. digs (first for UO, second in the Pac-10, 2198)

Team-wise, UO capped the year with a .289 hitting mark to break the previous record (.286) that it set last year, with both far outpacing the former best of .249 from 1984.

Junior Neticia Enesi also broke the Ducks’ single season hitting mark with her .389 mark, eclipsing former All-American Sue Harbour from 1984 (.364).  The Dalles, Ore., native Enesi also rewrote the school block assists record (143), and ended six ahead of the former mark by Cathy Hill, 137 (129 sets, 1980).

Swoboda also broke her own digs mark for a season with her 599 in ’08 13 better than her former record from last season. Other players that posted top-10 all-time UO season totals follow:

- Gorana Maricic Points (second, 537.5; points/average, fifth, 4.71), Kills (eighth, 473; kills/average, 10th, 4.15)
- Kristen Forristall Hitting (fourth, .316), Block Assists (eighth-tie, 113)
- Katie Swoboda Digs/Average (third, 5.03)
- Nevena Djordjevic Assists (fourth, 1367), Assists/Average (fourth, 11.58)

In other action later Friday night in Austin, third-seeded Texas beat 14th-seeded UCLA, 3-1, by scores of 25-11, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, and will face Iowa State, Saturday, December 13 at 5:30 p.m. Central Time (3:30 p.m. Pacific Time).
 
More information on Saturday’s regional final and the rest of the NCAA tournament is available at the www.TexasSports.com and www.NCAAsports.com websites.



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