EUGENE, Ore. – No. 5 Oregon topped the nation’s last unbeaten team with a 3-1 win against No. 2 Washington Saturday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
In front of 3,978 fans, the second-biggest Duck volleyball crowd ever, UO (16-1, 7-1) won the back-and-forth battle by a 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 25-17 score, and staked a win in the series for the fourth consecutive season.
“It was a dog fight, and I thought we were out of it,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “In game 2 we fell apart, and we also looked ugly in the third set but somehow we dug deep and came back. UW deserves credit — they blocked a lot of balls. Part of it was that we set the ball low and tight, and part of it was the hitters, too, but regardless we were out of rhythm. Finally, we got refocused and calmed down and worried about the play ahead of us. However, it’s just one win, and there are a lot of games left.”
Senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma carried the team when she needed to, and led UO in kills (23) and points for the 10th and 11th times in 2012, respectively, and also came up with eight digs. She earned a spot on the Duck all-time career kill list (No. 10, 1,099) and passed former All-American Gorana Maricic (1,089).
The balanced Duck offense also featured three more hitters with 10-plus kills for the fifth time this year, and two with .270-plus hitting marks.
Junior middle blocker Ariana Williams landed 12 kills, hit .444 and added two blocks. The returning All-Pac-12 honorable mention logged her ninth .400 or better total of the season and staked the team’s best mark for the 10th time this season.
Senior outside hitter Katherine Fischer added 12 kills — her 10th double-digit kill total — hit .270, and added nine digs. Sophomore outside hitter Liz Brenner connected on 14 kills — her 13th double-digit effort the last 15 matches — and added seven digs and three blocks. The returning All-Pac-12 Freshman Team honoree led the team in blocks for the fourth time this year.
In the team comparisons, the Ducks owned advantages in hitting (.288-.281), assists (62-47), fewest service errors (7-14) and digs (66-42); the two teams tied in aces (4-4); and the Huskies staked a notable blocks edge (19.0-5.0).
In this week’s national rankings, UW stood third nationally in hitting (.314), but its output Saturday (.281) was its second-lowest in Pac-12 play behind its total in a sweep of then-No. 3 USC (.239).
UW category leaders included Krista Vansant (14 kills, .333, 15 points), setter Katy Beals (25 assists), libero Jenna Orlandi (15 digs), middle blocker Amanda Gil (14 blocks), and setter Katy Beals (3 aces).