Oregon volleyball concluded its 2017 nonconference slate with a trio of three-set wins in three days at the Nike Classic tournament in Eugene, Ore.
Senior Taylor Agost was named MVP of the tournament with 3.11 kills per set and an average 0.619 hitting percentage. Sophomores Willow Johnson and Ronika Stone earned all-tournament.
“It gives me a lot of confidence as a hitter, and lot of confidence to my setter as well,” Agost said. “I really feel like we got better each match in different ways and overall it was a really great tournament to develop better.”
The No. 14 Oregon Ducks (7-1) closed the weekend with a win over the Duquesne Dukes (4-7) with set scores of 25-16, 25-15, and 25-12 on Saturday night. This marks the Ducks’ sixth-straight home win and the team has won now 14 straight of their last sets.
“We’ve had a great preseason,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “To go 7-1, with our only loss to Texas, I think It’s pretty special for our team. Coming in we had the 5th toughest schedule in the country, and I’m proud of how we’ve handled it. This team feels very much like a team right now.”
Johnson claimed the first point of Saturday’s match for Oregon and set the energetic tone for the rest of the evening’s sets. The team grabbed the lead at point nine and never looked back. Seeing themselves through a nine-point run from 11-9 all the way through 19-11. The set ended with a score of 25-16 and Johnson had five kills.
“I thought Duquesne did a really nice job starting out,” Ulmer said. “I think they surprised us with the speed of their transition offense, we knew it was going to be good, but I don’t think we knew it was going to be that quick. We finally adjusted halfway through and then they started struggling through our block.”
Set two finished in a similar manner as the Ducks had another lead early on and kept it through multiple three-point runs. A set point from Agost and a winning kill from Johnson gave the Ducks the win at 25-15.
The third and final set mirrored the first two as the team took the lead even earlier than set two at point seven. The Ducks would create a 13-point deficit for their finish score of 25-12.
Johnson lead the team with ten kills, followed closely behind was Agost and Sumeet Gill, each with eight.
“I think we had a great preseason that really got us prepared to go into conference fighting hard,” Agost said. “I see us coming together more and more every time we play, and that’s just really pushing us to become a better team than ever.”
Next up, the Ducks will start competition in the Pac-12 conference against Civil War rival Oregon State Beavers on Tuesday, September 19 at 7 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni