Oregon volleyball keeps pace in Pac-12 with win over Cougars

No. 20 Oregon (17-6, 10-4) held off No. 23 Washington State (17-9, 7-7) in five sets Sunday afternoon to maintain its tie for first place in the Pac-12 with six games remaining in the regular season.

Lindsey Vander Weide came through with her third 20-kill match of the season. Taylor Agost added 12 kills and Ronika Stone added 11 kills to help pave the way for Oregon’s victory.  Amanda Benson led Oregon with 17 digs. Brook Van Sickle had seven kills and 11 digs. She filled in for Jolie Rasmussen, who left win an injury in the first set.

In the first set, the Ducks used a 7-2 run to propel themselves to a 16-9 lead and took control of the set. From that point on, the teams exchanged runs to end the set. The Cougars scored three in a row before the Ducks responded with four in a row. The Cougars put together a three-point streak to get within five points. The Ducks scored four of the last five points to clinch the set.

Oregon appeared to take control of the match in set two with an 11-7 lead that included a 5-0 run. The Ducks stretched their lead to 15-9. The Cougars went on a 9-5 run to get within two of the Ducks, but again Oregon slammed the door shut on the set, outscoring the Cougars 5-2 to take the set 25-20.

The Ducks had an opportunity to finish the two-game road trip with a sweep of the Washington schools, but the Cougars did not go away quietly. They came out attacking and took a 16-8 lead that eventually became a 21-15 lead. The Ducks used a 6-1 run to cut the deficit 22-21, but the Cougars scored the final three points to force a fourth set.

The momentum began to swing in the Washington State’s favor in the fourth set, with the Ducks being outscored 16-4 to begin the set. The deficit was too big to overcome as the Cougars cruised to a 25-15 set victory to even the match at two apiece and force the match to a fifth set.

The Ducks put a quick end to the momentum the Cougars had generated and went on an 8-3 run to start the set. The Ducks extended their lead to 11-4 with a key ace by Vander Weide. The two teams exchanged points until the Ducks got the 15 points needed to escape with the match victory.

Oregon will return home to take on Utah and Colorado for the final regular season home games of the season at Matthew Knight Arena. First up for the Ducks is a match against Utah on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Follow Zak Laster on Twitter: @zlast3445

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Zak Laster

Zak Laster

Zak Laster is a sports writer for the Daily Emerald. He covers volleyball, women's basketball, golf and baseball. He can be reached at [email protected]