EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon Volleyball team was on top of its game to open the season, Friday, as the Ducks defeated Ohio State in three sets, 25-22, 25-12, 25-16.
How it Happened: A key for Oregon were fast starts in each set, setting the tone early. The Ducks jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first, a 5-0 lead in the second and went up 7-3 in the third set. But more impressive than the fast starts was the Ducks’ ability to hold the Buckeyes at bay. Even though Ohio State resisted with runs of their own, the Ducks never trailed in any of the three sets.
The offensive efficiency of Oregon improved as the match progressed, peaking with a hitting line of .464 in the third set. While the offense was gearing up, the Duck’s defense stood tall in the first two frames, holding the Buckeyes to .023 and -.091 marks, respectively.
The Ducks had to fight their way out of the first set after Ohio State closed within a point at 17-16, but the home side took advantage of some Buckeye errors to finish on top. The remaining two sets were much more comfortable for Oregon which had a sizeable leads midway through each.
What It Means: Ohio State is the first of many talented teams in Oregon’s path this season, with two nonconference opponents ranked in the AVCA top 25 and more than half of the Pac-12 ranked or receiving votes. Head coach Jim Moore knew he was putting a young team to the test with the 2014 schedule but his players came out of the gates quick against a Big 10 opponent.
The More the Merrier: In all aspects of the match, the Ducks were well rounded. Three players were targeted 16-or-more times in the offense with three more taking eight-or-more attempts. Liz Brenner (15), Natalie Bookout Gonzalez (13) and Amanda Benson (12) each had double-digit digs while Maggie Scott and Shellsy Ashen split assists with 18 and 17 apiece as part of the new 6-2 offense. The attack could be even stronger with the return of freshman Frankie Shebby who led the team in kills during both exhibition matches but missed Friday’s contest due to an illness
Next Up: The Ducks will continue at the Oregon Invitational with a doubleheader on Saturday, first at 9 a.m. against Central Arkansas followed by a 3 p.m. match against Illinois State. Illinois State defeated Central Arkansas in four sets Friday.