EUGENE, Ore. – Canace Finley had a career night as the Oregon volleyball team (3-1) returned to winning form with a straight-set victory over Portland State (2-2), Tuesday, 25-10, 28-26, 25-14.
Finley set a career marks for kills (11), hitting percentage (.588), and points (13.5) while also getting in on five block assists. Five of those kills and three of the block assists came in the third set where she shined, committing no hitting errors and attacking at a .714 clip.
The Fort Collins, Colo., native has been making the transition from middle blocker to opposite side hitter this season, a switch that Jim Moore thinks could pay dividends with more play like tonight.
“Canace, I think, has turned a corner,” said head coach Jim Moore. “She played well Saturday night and tonight kind of lit it up. She was good in practice yesterday and if she continues that we are going to be real good.”
If Finley finished the race for the Ducks, Liz Brenner started it. The junior outside hitter was a force in the first set both on the offensive and defensive ends, leading the team with eight kills and as well as seven digs. The astounding pace would settle but Brenner still finished with a season-high 14 kills along with 14 digs to match. The double-double was her first of the season.
Brenner’s All-American skill was on display in the first set, but it was a team effort that led to a 44.7 hitting percentage in the 25-10 route. After earning the first point on a kill by Martenne Bettendorf the Ducks never surrendered the lead. Oregon was gradually pulling away until going on an 11-0 run to end the set, during which Brenner posted four kills.
An impressive run also ended the second set in Oregon’s favor, but in a different circumstance. The Ducks trailed 17-22 when Moore called a timeout and responded with a 5-2 run but still had to fight off three Portland State set points at 22-24, 23-24 and 25-26. The Ducks finished the set on an 11-4 run when they eventually won 28-26.
The third set resembled the first in that another Oregon run gave the Ducks room to breathe before closing it out. The Vikings were holding steady, down only two points at 12-10 before a 7-0 run gave Oregon all the momentum down the home stretch to win 25-14.
Freshman Amanda Benson emerged on the scene Tuesday with 21 digs. The number is the most of her career and is tied with Stephanie Preach of Arizona State for the most in a three-set match by a Pac-12 player this season.
“Amanda stepped up tonight,” Moore said. “Those were Katie Swoboda digs out of middle back and she was special tonight.”
Oregon will be back in action this weekend when it travels for its first road matches of the season. UO will face No. 21 Michigan State, Friday and No. 7 Michigan, Saturday.
Portland State vs #12 Oregon
(Sep 03, 2013 at Eugene, Ore.)
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 5.0|
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 7.0|
| Site: Eugene, Ore. (Matthew Knight Arena)
Date: Sep 03, 2013 Attend: Time: 1:24
Referees: Jason Olson, Lydia Godshall