TEMPE, Ariz. – The No. 21 Oregon volleyball team (9-5, 2-2) rallied after dropping the opening set for its first win against a ranked opponent this season, defeating No. 15 Arizona State 3-1 at Wells Fargo Arena, Sunday, 21-25, 25-19, 25-10, 25-20.
The Ducks were firing on all cylinders as a number of season- and career-highs were set in the match, most notably the team’s 14 blocks which is the most since Sept. 7 2010 when the team recorded 16.
Ariana Williams was involved in 10 of those blocks, which is the most since Neticia Enesi posted 12 on Oct. 31, 2008.
Liz Brenner and Canace Finley were dynamos on the offensive end with 17 and 14 kills, respectively. Finley’s 14 is a career high for the sophomore from Fort Collins, Colo., who did so on 24 attempts and made only one error. Her well rounded match included seven blocks which tied her career high set earlier this season at Oregon State.
The offensive production from Brenner capped a strong week for the junior who also had 22 kills at Arizona, Friday and is now averaging 4.18 kills per set this season.
Assists were coming from a new face as Shellsy Ashen got her 8th-career start, replacing Lauren Plum who was out with an ankle injury. Ashen did not miss a beat though, serving up 40 assists while digging eight balls.
Oregon came out slow in the first set, losing 21-25 while hitting .098 to the Sun Devils’ .257. That first set has been crucial to the Ducks this season as all five of their losses, and their previous eight wins, were foreshadowed by the first-set result.
Such would not be the case Sunday as the Green and Yellow bounced back with a 25-19 win in the second set to level the score at 1-1. A 4-0 run in the middle of the set put Oregon up 17-13 and gave the ducks some breathing room – room the Ducks would maintain all the way to the end of the set.
Coming out of the break, Oregon jumped all over Arizona State to take a 2-1 lead. The Ducks hit .550 in the third set and had a sideout rate of 89 percent. The Sun Devils led early on, 5-3 before the Ducks pounced and never surrendered momentum, going on a 22-5 run the rest of the way.
The final set was the closest of the match and saw the Ducks trailing 18-16 at one point but a 9-2 run, finished with back-to-back blocks, ended the Arizona State’s hopes of forcing a fifth set and move Oregon to 2-2 in Pac-12 play.
The win was also Oregon’s first after losing the opening set.
Amanda Benson finished a solid week with 22 digs, Sunday, besting her career high of 21. Benson also had 19 digs against Arizona, Friday.
Oregon will welcome the southern California schools next week, starting with No. 16 UCLA, Friday at 8 p.m. That match will be aired live on ESPNU. No. 2 USC will come to town Sunday.