EUGENE, Ore – Offense was plentiful at Matthew Knight Arena, Friday night but the No. 23 Oregon volleyball team (12-9, 5-6 Pac-12) fell in four sets to Arizona State, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19, 25-15.
Oregon finished with a hitting mark of .319, which pointed toward success so far this season as the Ducks were 7-0 entering the match when hitting better than .300 this season.
The Sun Devils, though, were even more efficient hitting .365 as the Oregon defense came up short, .178 better than what Oregon normally allows opponents to swing.
“(Arizona State) played very well,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “But there were a whole bunch of easily dug balls, whether that was indecision or whatever it was, we just didn’t dig them. We have been digging a bunch of those, so it was a bit of a surprise tonight.”
Much of the offense for the home side was Oregon’s junior outside hitter, Liz Brenner. Brenner tied her season high of 23 kills while hitting .385 and only making three attacking errors. The Portland, Ore., native also tallied 14 digs for her third-straight double-double and eighth of the season.
Brenner has now surpassed the 20-kill barrier fourth time this season.
Ariana Williams joined Brenner in double digits for kills with 13. The senior had nine in the first two sets and was hitting .722 at one point in the fifth set, before finishing 13-of-21 (.571).
The first set looked as if it would be all Sun Devils, with Arizona State expanding their lead to 21-14 before a 7-1 run, three points coming off kills by Brenner, put the Ducks within a point. From there the two teams traded points and the Oregon came up just short, 25-23.
The Ducks rallied in the second set, jumping out to a 10-5 lead early and never allowing Arizona State within two points for the rest of the set. Similar to the first set, attacking was distributed as Brenner tallied six kills in the set, Williams with five, and Bettendorf with four.
Oregon hit .343 in the third set and was within striking distance throughout the entire set, but couldn’t find a way to pull even with ASU, which hit .417. A kill by Bettendorf brought the score to 15-17 but that was as close as Oregon would get before the Sun Devils found more space during the remainder of the set and carried on to a 25-19 victory.
While Oregon had lost previous sets with good offensive performances, nothing was going right for the team in the fourth and final set as ASU led wire-to-wire in a 25-15 route.
“I think we just tried to do too much in that fourth set,” said Brenner. “We got down quick and we haven’t done very well when that has happened recently.”
The Ducks will be back in action against Arizona, Saturday at 7 p.m., at Matthew Knight Arena. It will be a quick turnaround for the Ducks while it will be Arizona’s first match of the weekend.