Oregon Volleyball: Ducks Win In Five Sets Over Utah

Oregon Volleyball hosts New Mexico State in the NCAA Tournamnt at Matthew Knight Arena.Justin Phillips/KPNW Sports
Oregon Volleyball hosts New Mexico State in the NCAA Tournamnt at Matthew Knight Arena.Justin Phillips/KPNW Sports /

The Oregon Ducks opened Pac-12 play with a loss at Oregon State on Thursday but battled a Utah team that would not go away for a five-set win on Sunday afternoon.

Oregon Volleyball (5-6, 1-1 Pac-12) has not had the start to the season they wanted. The schedule was tough and without a key player for their opening road trip vs Penn State and Minnesota, it has been a struggle. Oregon opened Pac-12 play Thursday at Oregon State and the Beavers took the match to five sets after a back and forth start. Oregon State won the match in the final frame. The Duck have lost three of their last four and are clinging to a spot in the latest AVCA Top 25 after starting the season inside the top 15.

The Ducks faced Utah for their Pac-12 home opener at Matthew Knight Arena. The first set saw Oregon in control early leading 15-12 before Utah scored three straight points taking a lead and pushing it to 18-16 following an Oregon timeout. Ronika Stone fueled three of the next four points for Oregon forcing a Utes timeout. Ronika Stone took set point as the Ducks won the first set.

Oregon used their momentum in set one and won the second set 25-17. The Ducks held Utah to hitting .182 while hitting over .380 as a team with 33 team kills and 4 service aces taking a 2-0 lead int the break.

The Ducks dominated upfront to start the third set forcing Utah into mistakes including a service error to take a 13-10 lead. A net violation gave Oregon another point. Utah, as they did in the second set, would string together points to take an 18-14 lead. Oregon reeled off three straight points forcing a Utah timeout Matt Ulmer did not let his team give up the set quietly as Oregon scored the next two points to pull within one. It was match point for Utah 24-23. The Utes took game three forcing a fourth set with Oregon leading three sets to one.

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The fourth set started with Oregon scoring the first two points, but Utah came right back tying the set at 4. Oregon then found a string of points via kill to push it to 10-7. Utah did not go away taking a 14-13 lead in the set. Utah continued reeling off three straight points forcing an Oregon timeout. Utah would win set four sending the match to a fifth set. Oregon started the match up 2-0 and gave up back to back games to the Utes.

Oregon and Stanford were at a 7-7 tie midway through the final set. It would be tied at again at 10-10. The Ducks won the match vs Utah as Ronika Stone had the final kill. Oregon was 1-1 in conference play. Stone hit .312 for the match pacing the Ducks as a team.

Oregon Volleyball has a big Pac-12 test on Friday night that could jumpstart the Pac-12 season hosting a top-ranked Stanford Cardinal team at Matthew Knight Arena. First serve vs the Cardinal is set for 7 pm Pacific Time on ESPN2.