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Oregon Ducks players celebrate after making a block. The Oregon Ducks host the Oregon State Beavers on September 22th, 2021, at Matthew Knight Arena. (Serei Hendrie/Emerald)

Oregon’s starting libero Georgia Murphy was a notable absence, but Becca Morse stepped into the role on moments notice. Morse’s hustle was a game changer. She dove for multiple digs to set up kills. Her effort drove the Oregon Ducks to victory in their first Pac-12 matchup against rivals Oregon State on Wednesday night, 3-0.

“[Becca’s] scrappy,” Karson Bacon said. “We practice and preach: no plays off. And Becca embodies that.”

Brooke Nuneviller provided an early spark with three kills from the back row, looping over the Beavers’ roof. Nuneviller led the team in kills through the first 10 games, and she looks poised to dominate Pac-12 play as well.

Fellow outside hitter Taylor Borup was stellar in the first set; her cross court kill gave Oregon an early 15-6 advantage.

“Borup looked very engaged tonight,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “When you can add her to compliment Brooke and you have two lefts like that on the court then your right side can fire, your middle-blockers can fire, and everyone gets involved.”

The Ducks won the first set, overpowering the Beavers on the right side of the court. Abby Hansen and Gloria Mutiri contributed subsequent kills to give the Ducks a 25-10 lead.

Oregon State was determined to change the tide in the second set, and they nipped the Ducks’ heels for the first part of the set. The Ducks committed a serve error, shrinking their lead to 13-9.

But they responded quickly to establish a lead. Morgan Lewis stepped in towards the end of the set with back-to-back kills to give the Ducks a 25-15 lead and a 2-0 set advantage.

The Beavers fell behind early again in the third set, but they fought back to tie the score at 14 as Maddie Goings asserted herself into the action with a kill.

But, for the second time tonight, Oregon faced adversity and responded. They banded together as a joint effort propelled them to close the final set.

The Beavers slightly trailed the Ducks in the third set, hoping to extend the match. It seemed as if they hit the ball out of the Ducks’ reach on a point that would cut the lead to 2, but Morse made an excellent play. She dove for the ball, using her fingertips to pop it up and prevent it from hitting the ground. Nuneviller took her pass and set up a kill from Lewis.

But the Beavers would not go away in the final set. They went on a late run and tied the score at 24 after a service error from Mutiri.

Mutiri wasn’t phased by her mistake. Two aces from the junior closed out the third set, and the Ducks completed the sweep.

Oregon improves to 10-1 on the season and 1-0 in the conference. The Ducks’ next game is on Sunday, Sept. 26 in Tempe, Arizona against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Aaron Heisen is a writer from Venice Beach, California. He enjoys covering Oregon sports including basketball, football, baseball and softball. When he’s not writing, he’s playing basketball, reading, watching movies, or spending time with his family.