EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon volleyball team won two matches, Saturday defeating Central Arkansas in straight sets, 25-19, 25-13, 25-16 and closing out a five setter against Illinois State 23-25, 25-10, 25-12, 22-25, 15-8. The Ducks went 3-0 for the weekend after defeating Ohio State on Friday and were crowned Oregon Invitational Champions.
How It Happened: Oregon was comfortable in its 9 a.m. match against Central Arkansas behind the arm of Liz Brenner who recorded 10 kills and 10 digs. Oregon’s offense was clicking throughout the match as the Ducks hit over .300 in all three sets and .406 in the first set. On the other end, the defense gave the Sugar Bears no room to breathe with 10.5 total blocks, six of which involved sophomore Kacey Nady.
It was the afternoon match that Oregon needed to be jolted to life. In a back-and-forth set from start to finish, the Redbirds handed the Ducks their first dropped set of the season with a 25-23 finish. The Ducks roared alive in the second and third sets though, responding with a .706 hitting line in the second set and a 25-10 win.
The Redbirds edged out another set win in the fourth, this time 25-22 thanks to 10 Oregon attacking errors. The fifth and final set of the tournament would decide the champion and the Ducks would not be denied. Liz Brenner received 12 targets in the final set and put down three kills.
What It Means: Early season success has become commonplace for the Oregon volleyball team, but getting a fast start could be especially important this season with two ranked opponents still on the preseason schedule. The question heading into the season was how big of a role would newcomers play and how would they fare? While Frankie Shebby missed the weekend’s matches due to an illness, Taylor Agost and Maggie Scott contributed significantly. Agost averaged 2.21 kills per set, third on the team, and Scott led the squad with 7.20 assists per set and adding2.40 digs per set.
With the strong play of veterans like Brenner, Bettendorf and Ashen, the stage is set for the freshman to play their role without being asked to do too much.
All-Tournament Team: Martenne Bettendorf was named the tournament Most Valuable Player with the additions of Liz Brenner and Amanda Benson to the All-Tournament Team. Bettendorf led all players in the tournament in hitting efficiency and ranked third in kills with a line of 33k, .397 pct.
Quote From Coach Moore: “I’m pleased to get out of here 3-0 with everything that happened, considering we didn’t have Frankie [Shebby]. It was a scary situation. I was pretty sure (Illinois State) were going to hang around and find a way to win game four, and sure enough they did. It was nice to be able to pull it out.”
Next Up: Oregon will have more tournament play in Hawaii next weekend when it faces St. John’s (Sept. 4), No. 17 Hawaii (Sept. 5) and New Mexico (Sept. 6).