By Rob Moseley
Oregon had the luxury of trying to bounce back from its first loss of the season in the friendly confines of Matthew Knight Arena on Tuesday.
The 12th-ranked Ducks (3-1) were successful, putting a three-set loss to Ohio behind them with a sweep of Portland State. But some of the issues that led to the loss to the Bobcats cropped up again Tuesday against the Vikings, and now Oregon will need to continue improving while going on the road for the first time this fall.
The UO volleyball team is at No. 20 Michigan State on Friday and at No. 7 Michigan on Saturday.
“How you respond to adversity is what’s important, in sports and in life,” UO coach Jim Moore said. “They’ve responded well so far. …
“As I said to (the players,) experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. We didn’t get what we wanted Saturday night, that’s for sure. I think it was a wake-up call, and we can use it. It can be beneficial to us.”
Moore said his team’s bounce-back began with two sharp practices between the Ohio and Portland State matches. Then, the Ducks took command of a back-and-forth first set with an 11-0 run against the Viks.
“We just refocused, mostly,” Plum said. “We had a couple really good practices leading up to this, which is the only thing you can do when you have a bad match – focus on the next practice.”
By the second set, though, too much of the offense was concentrated on Brenner, Moore said. The Vikings adjusted, and the Ducks had to dig themselves out of a 22-17 hole to win 28-26.
Moving forward, Moore wants to see a more diverse offensive attack, and less complacency with an early lead.
“That’s going to be our issue all year, until we fix it,” Moore said. “You think you can relax, or you don’t have to focus as much. The moment we do that, we’re in trouble. If we don’t resolve it, we’re going to have a long – or short – season, however you want to define that.”
The good news was, Oregon did eventually right the ship Tuesday. Another silver lining from a somewhat uneven night was the emergence of converted middle blocker Canace Finley, who dominated the third set against the Viks from an outside hitter position and finished the night with a career-high 11 kills.
“If she continues that,” Moore said, “we’re going to be real good.”
It will help to addresses those issues of inconsistency and offensive diversity, as well, beginning with this weekend’s road trip.