Plum, 17th-ranked Oregon knock off No. 10 Kentucky in straight sets
ATHENS, Ohio -- With its convincing 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 victory against No. 10 Kentucky, the No. 17 Oregon volleyball team enjoyed its 17th win versus a top-10 team in the eight years Jim Moore has been head coach.
The Ducks (5-0) cruised to a 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 win against the Wildcats (3-2), who reached regionals at last year's championship. The outcome also marked Oregon's first win in the series after UK won meetings in 1981 and 2009.
“[Setter] Lauren Plum did an unbelievable job," Moore said. "She executed the game plan right from the start. We wanted to go to the [outside] pins early, and then when they made adjustments, she did, too -- without us even saying anything. All our hitters did great, and we also proved that we can block against a good team. We served very well against a very good passing team.”
The Oregon offense combined on a season-high .500 hitting mark for the match, and also featured three hitters with more than 10 kills each: All-American Alaina Bergsma (14), hitter Katherine Fischer (14) and outside hitter Liz Brenner (10).
Fischer and Bergsma logged the team's two highest individual hitting marks of the year with their .619 and .500 totals, while middle blocker Ariana Williams (7 kills, .600) also topped +.600.
Directing the balanced Duck offense, setter Lauren Plum racked up a three-set season-high 43 assists, and added four kills and four digs.
On defense, libero Haley Jacob paced the digs column with a Duck three-set season best (12). Canace Finley logged a team season-high five blocks, and Brenner added three
At the service line, Bergsma (2) and Plum (1) accounted for Oregon's three aces in the contest.
In the team comparison, Oregon held notable advantages in hitting (.500-.153), kills (51-29), assists (48-28), digs (34-18) and blocks (6-4).
Oregon's blocking total (6.0) stood as a three-set season high, and was only a half-block shy of its season best (6.5) that came in the five-set win at No. 24 Ohio State last Saturday.
Kentucky individual category leaders included Whitney Billings (9 kills, 10.5 points, 3 blocks), Ashley Frazier (.583), Christine Hartmann (25 assists), Jackie Napper (4 digs) and Stephanie Klefot (4 digs) and Sara Schwarzwalder (3 blocks).
“We knew Kentucky puts pressure on teams by their serving and blocking and hitting the ball on the left side of the court,” Moore said. “We had to serve well to try and take out them of their passing, and we blocked some balls, too. We didn’t come out anxious, and instead focused on the play ahead of us and executed.”
Overall, versus top-25 teams in Jim Moore's career, Oregon has now upset 17 top-10 teams, including eight wins versus top-five teams.
Saturday's match also avenged a 3-0 Kentucky win in Lexington in the national championship second round in 2009.