EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon began its pursuit of a fourth consecutive NCATA National Championship on Thursday, opening the 2014 season against Baylor in front of a large Matthew Knight Arena crowd. The Ducks made an impressive debut, besting the Bears by a count of 280.200-274.380.
With the season-opening win, the Ducks improved their win streak to 22 matches – a streak that dates back to the 2011 season. Oregon also remained perfect in season-opening meets (4-0).
The Ducks swept Baylor in all six events and exceeded last season’s opening score by 3.4 points.
“I’ve said this from the beginning, I like the chemistry of this team,” said head coach Felecia Mulkey. “You just can’t shake them. They performed very well tonight. They are physically able, but the chemistry is just phenomenal.”
Fueled by a perfect 10 in the pyramid heat, Oregon came out of the gates strong in the compulsory events. The Ducks took a 38.90-38.05 lead through the first rotation.
Oregon posted a 28.45 in acro with a 9.35 in the first heat, 9.70 in the second heat and a 9.40 in the final heat. The Ducks outscored Baylor by 0.7 in the event.
The Ducks were nearly perfect in pyramid, taking 29.30 of a possible 30 points. Oregon’s third heat of Alexis McCallister, Erin Block, Kaliann Noll, Miranda Merkison, Nicole Seybold, Brooke Gansemer and Kisa Chapman scored a 9.85 – the highest score of the event.
Oregon was equally impressive in toss, defeating the Bears 29.05-28.45 in the event. Mulkey’s Ducks outscored Baylor in all three heats; (9.65, 9.65, 9.75) to take a decisive lead in the team score.
In tumbling, Oregon tallied 57.10 points to clip Baylor. Oregon’s best heat came in the ariel pass, as junior Kisa Chapman earned a 9.9.
Behind a ruckus crowd in the final event of the night, the Ducks used a near flawless team routine to cap the season-opening victory. The Ducks topped Baylor by 2.66 points in team routine with a 97.400-94.740 advantage.
“Thing were a little crazy this week in practice, but our chemistry seriously showed today and we had no doubts going into any events,” said junior Tara Lubert, a two-time NCATA All-American.
The Ducks return to action on Monday, March 10, hosting a tri-meet at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon will entertain Quinnipiac and Azusa Pacific at 7 p.m. (PT).