EUGENE, Ore. - Though the team is in the midst of a 10-day stretch without a match, Oregon volleyball head coach Jim Moore says that now is one of the most crucial points in the 2013 season.
The Ducks are coming off a week of four straight-set wins including three at the Fresno State Classic where Oregon took down CSU Bakersfield, Belmont and Fresno State.
On a team with two All-Americans, it is senior middle blocker Ariana Williams who has elevated her game above the rest lately. Williams reached double-digit kills in the last six matches and was named the Fresno State Classic MVP where she averaged 3.67 kills per set and was hitting .456.
“She’s doing everything well right now,” Moore said. “She’s blocking so much better than she ever has. She sees so well now; she plays like an experienced person, the game has slowed down for her.”
The victories started the team in the right direction to carry momentum into a strong week of practice.
“I told (the team) going into the weekend that, in my entire career, this is the best opportunity I’ve ever seen for a team to take dramatic steps in a week and a half,” Moore said. “We are on that path right now which is real good. We took those steps over the weekend in the competition and now let’s use this week’s practice to really improve on the things we need to improve on.”
Moore and the Ducks know that on the other side of the 10-day break lies a gauntlet that is the Pac-12 schedule. Currently six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the AVCA top 20 with one more receiving votes. Oregon will start the conference slate with a pair of rivalry matches at Oregon State (Sept. 25) and home against No. 3 Washington (Sept. 27).
Moore has now traversed the nation’s best conference eight times and expects the intensity to increase both in competition and in practice.
“It will pick up next week for sure,” he said. “You know, it’s the Civil War and then it’s Washington which is always a big draw and a big match. It’s incredibly close virtually every time we play. It’s an exciting way to open up Pac-12 play.”
A big crowd is expected for the conference home-opener against Washington next Friday, as the athletic department has implemented “Operation 6200” and looks to set a volleyball attendance record in what is certain to be a top-20 matchup.
Because such a large crowd is expected, both tickets and parking can be purchased in advance HERE. Fans who purchase tickets online will receive a 50 percent discount by entering the promo code “BEATUW”.