EUGENE, Ore. – Liz Brenner’s season-high 28 kills guided No. 23 Oregon volleyball (13-9, 6-6 Pac-12) to a five-set victory over Arizona, Saturday night, 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-12.
Brenner, who recorded her previous highs of 23 kills against Washington as well as Friday night against Arizona State, also recorded 19 digs for her fourth-straight double-double. She also surpassed 20 kills for the fifth time this season, doing so against each of the Arizona schools this weekend.
After the match, Brenner knew the biggest of any stats was another tally in the win column, noting that the match may even have more importance than any other this season.
“This is huge for us, especially winning in five sets,” Brenner said. “It’s a big confidence-builder for the younger girls because we haven’t won a game this long this year.”
The Ducks entered the match on three-straight losses, and with a trip to No. 4 USC and UCLA looming, getting back on winning terms was essential.
“This was an absolute must win,” said head coach Jim Moore. “There’s no question about that.”
Plum finished the match with 39 assists and a career-high 24 digs. The senior All-American also provided two clinical kills, dropping the ball in the middle of the Wildcat defense, one of which set the tone in the fifth set with the first point.
Each of the five sets brought a different kind of drama for the fans in attendance, starting with the first set which required a last-minute rally from the Ducks. Oregon trailed 17-22, but pulled out an 8-1 run with three of freshman Naya Crittenden’s six first-set kills coming during that span, pushing the Ducks to a 25-23 win.
Despite losing the second set, 25-23, Crittenden added four more kills in the second set which led the team at the time. It was a career night for the Modesto, Calif., native who finished with 11 kills on the night.
The third set was close the whole way through, but went Arizona’s way as the Wildcats took their first lead at 15-14 and never let it go. Oregon made a run and pressed at the end, trialing 22-23, but Arizona was able to find their 25th point just in time to bring the Oregon momentum to a halt.
The Ducks led wire-to-wire in the fourth set, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Oregon had its largest lead of the match at 17-9 and looked confident to force the first five-set match at Matthew Knight Arena this season. That lead gradually dwindled to two points at 24-22, and this time it was Oregon who survived to a 25-22 set win.
A tense fifth set was only fitting. Oregon made its way out to an 8-5 lead but Arizona responded by evening the score at 10-10. Back-to-back kills by Brenner made it 12-10 and gave the Ducks the boost they needed to get to 15-12.
Oregon will travel to USC, Friday and UCLA, Sunday. Oregon defeated UCLA in four sets but lost to USC in three earlier this season.
Arizona vs #23 Oregon
(Nov 02, 2013 at Eugene, Ore.)
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 20.0|
|TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 6.5|
| Site: Eugene, Ore. (Matthew Knight Arena)
Date: Nov 02, 2013 Attend: 1224 Time: 2:24
Referees: Rick Olmstead, John Bryant