After Oregon’s 3-1 win against Colorado last Thursday, head coach Jim Moore told reporters that the Ducks’ serving was an issue.
In the first half of Oregon’s 3-1 win against USC on Saturday, serving was still the issue. Had they not fixed it, the Ducks could have dropped their second game in a row after losing to No. 9 UCLA the day before.
The team tallied 12 out of the its 17 total service errors in the first two sets and recorded just two aces. Oregon’s inability to serve and block — it only tallied one block — cost the Ducks the first set and almost the second.
It was only when Oregon began blocking the Trojans’ attack that the team was able to win sets. During the first two sets, the Ducks tallied three of the team’s 13 blocks. The other 10 were split between the third and fourth sets, in which Oregon put up more decisive victories.
After allowing the Trojans to hit .395 in the first set, the Ducks kept them at .194, .029, and .120 in the following sets due to their improved blocking efforts — that and the Ducks’ deep offense gave them the win. Four of the Ducks hitters tallied double-digit kills, led by middle blocker Ronika Stone with 14.
Even though the Ducks lost a tough first set 25-23, Oregon surprisingly did not start the second set well. Three service errors and an attack error gave USC an early 6-2 lead, but then the Ducks seemed to wake up. Jolie Rasmussen served an ace during a four-point streak that tied the game at 7.
With USC in a slight 19-18 lead, Oregon unleashed a four-point streak that included three kills to take the lead. Though Oregon had the match point with the score 24-21, two errors prevented them from finishing the set, until Stone tallied another kill for the win.
USC began to fall apart in the third set, and Oregon finally began to take control. After scoring two points to take a 2-1 lead, a yellow card was issued to head coach Mick Haley. After that, Oregon’s block contributed four of seven points during an early run for Oregon.
Shorter point streaks allowed the Ducks to take a comfortable 20-12 lead, but the team refused to slow down. Five kills in a row — two from both Rasmussen and outside hitter Lindsey Vander Weide and one from Taylor Agost — helped Oregon get the match point, and the team went on to win the set 25-13.
In the fourth set, USC just kept shooting itself in the foot. Before the Trojans could score a point, Oregon tallied five, including two service aces and a block.
Jolie Rasmussen served up Oregon’s final service error of the night, bringing the score to 21-14 in favor of the Ducks. To finish up the match, Oregon scored four points in a row to win the set 25-14.
Follow Hannah Bonnie on Twitter @hbonnie03