Ducks defeat Northern Illinois in straight sets

The No. 14 Oregon Ducks concluded the 2017 Oregon Classic with a dominant win, defeating the Northern Illinois Huskies 3-0 on Saturday at Matt Knight Arena.

The game was a stark change from the Ducks’ Friday night nail-biter against Loyola Marymount. The Ducks were dominant from the first serve, cruising to a 25-12 victory in the first set while scoring nine of the first twelve points. The team never took its foot off the gas from there, winning the next two sets 25-15.

“I thought we executed much better,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “We passed phenomenaly, which we struggled with last night. After set two, we were passing at .275. When we pass the ball well, our offense is going to be really hard to stop.”

Indeed, the Ducks played with momentum that the Huskies struggled to break. The Ducks notched seven blocks and never allowed Northern Illinois to score more than three consecutive points. They were equally dominant with their service, posting eight aces to the Huskies one.

Junior outside hitter Lindsey Vander Weide was instrumental in the Ducks’ victory, delivering a team-high 14 kills. She also added two of the team’s aces, with one coming on the final point of set one.

“She can really doubt herself sometimes, which boggles my mind because she’s so good” Ulmer said. “It was just nice to see her when she kinda got down on herself a little bit, she perked right back up and we got going. She does so many things for us — that’s why she’s an All-American.”

Ronika Stone and Willow Johnson were also central to the Ducks’ winning effort. They contributed seven and eight kills, respectively.

While happy with Oregon’s performance, Ulmer wasn’t letting the win distract from the improvements the team needs to make.

“There’s always things coaches don’t like,” Ulmer said. “Defensively, we still have to be more disciplined. Our vision has to get better, we have to see what’s going on, dig more balls.”

The Ducks will look to continue their winning streak against the Cal Poly Mustangs at Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday, September 7, at 10 a.m.

Follow Aaron Alter on Twitter @aaronalter95

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Aaron Alter

Aaron Alter