OMAHA, Neb. – No. 5-seeded Oregon (28-4) staked a 3-1 win third-round action against No. 12-seed BYU (28-4) on Friday to advance to Saturday’ regional final.
The Ducks opened action with 25-23 and 25-21 victories in the first two sets against the West Coast Conference champion Cougars.
BYU, however, fought back to win the third set 25-22 and ended the Ducks’ 17-set win streak that dated back to a first-set loss at Washington State on Nov. 17.
UO countered with a 25-12 final-set answer in its first-ever appearance in the CenturyLink Center.
That final-set score tied UO’s fifth-biggest advantage of the season behind a 19-point margin versus Western Carolina (25-16) and 14-point wins against Houston, Colorado and Houston (25-11).
Tying her season highs, sophomore outside hitter Liz Brenner led the Ducks in kills (26) and points (27.5) for the eighth time in each category this season. She also hit .372 — her 13th +.300 total of the season — and added 13 digs for her seventh double-double.
The balanced offense featured four players with 10 or more kills for the seventh time this year, thanks to senior outside hitters Alaina Bergsma (17 kills, .302), senior Katherine Fischer (12 kills) and junior middle blocker Ariana Williams (13 kills, .435).
Williams led the team in blocks (4) for a team-best 13th time this year, while senior libero Haley Jacob held similar honors in the digs category (24). Her eighth +20-dig effort of the season also stood as her 23rd career-wise, and she paced the team for the 25th time this year and 74th time as a Duck.
Jacob also led the team in aces (2) for the eighth time in 2012, thanks to her fifth multi-ace match of the season.
Also on defense, the Ducks featured three other players that posted 11 digs each en route to double-doubles for the first time in 2012 — Bergsma, Fischer and junior setter Lauren Plum.
Directing UO to a .333 hitting mark — its 17th +.300 mark of the campaign — Plum ended with 68 assists.
Tthe UO defense held BYU to a .259 mark on Friday. The Cougars only held a slight edge in blocks in Friday’s final team comparison (9.0-7.0).
UO sported advatages in team comparisons for assists (68-47), aces (6-3) and digs (73-58); and the two teams tied in fewest service errors (5-5).
For BYU, Jennifer Hamson landed 18 killls, hit .364 and had four blocks en route to 20 points. Other Cougar category leaders included Kathryn LeCheminant (.385), Heather Hannemann (42 assists), Ciara Parker (15 digs) and Nicole Warner (7 blocks).