Oregon Volleyball sweeps UTRGV 3-0 in Matt Ulmer’s home debut

Oregon Volleyball opened the weekend Oregon Classic with a three-set sweep of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, 3-0 at Matthew Knight Arena Thursday night.

It was the home debut for new Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer.

“I think I was jittery just because I wanted us to play great for the fans tonight,” Ulmer said.

Set one started just the same way it would finish.  The Ducks and Vaqueros exchanged points to start the match at two points each. The Ducks then scored five straight points to force a Vaqueros timeout. Out of the timeout, a Ronika Stone kill allowed the Oregon attack to continue with another run, this time 4-1, to extend the Oregon lead to 11-3.

“We have to know how to manage our risk,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “When there is a good opportunity lets rev up our engines.”

The Ducks and Vaqueros exchanged the final four points of the match and the Ducks cruised to a 25-16 set win. The largest lead for the Ducks was 11 points.

In the second set, neither team pulled ahead by more than two points until Oregon took a 13-10 lead. However, the Vaqueros responded with a three-point run to tie the set at 13, prompting Ulmer to call a timeout.

The teams continued to battle, exchanging points until Oregon took a 20-18 lead on a block by Stone and Lauren Page. That forced a Vaquero timeout as they tried to prevent the Ducks from closing out the set. That didn’t stop Oregon, though, as the Ducks outscored the Vaqueros 5-2 to wrap up the second set and give the Ducks a commanding two set lead.

“Even though we made some errors, we were still being aggressive and getting after it,” Vander Weide said.

The Ducks put the Vaqueros away with a solid final set in this match. The Ducks jumped out to a 7-2 advantage and controlled the set throughout. Leading 17-12, the Ducks scored five out of six points to take a commanding nine-point lead. They once again forced a timeout by the Vaqueros to try to hold off the end of the match. The Vaqueros made the Ducks earn it out of the timeout, scoring three straight. But the Ducks found the two points they needed to close out the match and seal the team’s first home win of the 2017 season.

Lindsey Vander Weide led the Ducks with 12 kills and seven digs. Maggie Scott put together 19 assists in the match. The Ducks played 12 players in the match and had to step in to pick up for the absence of Brooke Van Sickle. Van Sickle missed Thursday’s game with a knee injury suffered in the match against Texas. She’ll be unavailable to play throughout the Oregon Classic.

“Every approach is the same,” Vander Weide said. “We come to every team no matter what they’re ranked or who they are we have to look at them the same because they can come out swinging.”

Next up for the Ducks is a match against Loyola Marymount at 8:00 pm Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

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]