Coming off a loss to No. 2 Stanford, and with another big match against the No. 9 Washington Huskies looming, the No. 16 Oregon Ducks picked up an important win on Sunday afternoon with a 3-0 sweep over the California Golden Bears at Matthew Knight Arena.
Each set finished in a 25-19 victory for the Ducks. The win snapped a two-match losing streak for the Ducks and their record improved to 3-3 in Pac-12 play.
The Ducks jumped all over the Bears in the third set. With Oregon firmly in control at 20-9, the Bears went on a 10-3 run to pull within four points. Following an Oregon timeout, the Ducks picked up the two points needed to clinch the match.
“I think a lot of people need to step it up, including myself,” Lindsey Vander Weide said. “I think the third set, even though the score wasn’t how we wanted it, I think we stepped up and did what we had to do.”
After falling behind early in the first set, the Ducks scored six straight points to take a 9-7 lead. Later in the set, after a California timeout, the Golden Bears committed three straight errors to give the Ducks a seven-point lead.
“Defensively I thought we were much scrappier tonight,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “There were a lot of weird plays that we handled well.”
Facing a 23-14 deficit, the Bears scored five out of seven, but the two points that Oregon scored were enough to win the set 25-19.
“Offensively we were not very good tonight,” Ulmer said. “Setters have to be better. I thought we passed well enough to hit much better than .205, which .205 for us, that just shouldn’t happen.”
Ronika Stone has been leading the conference in hitting percentage with .410, but posted a zero against Stanford, followed by a -.083 hitting percentage against the Golden Bears.
“She’s got to step it up,” Ulmer said. “I know it’s a new position for her but I don’t care. She’s that good that she needs to make it happen. Right now, she’s not accepting the challenge so that’s a little disappointing.”
In the second set, neither team held more than one point advantage, until Oregon scored four straight to take an 11-7 lead and force a California timeout. Later in the set, the Ducks scored six in a row to lead 21-13 before again, the Bears attempted to rally. The Bears scored six out of eight points to pull within four and the Ducks called a timeout needing two points to clinch the set. The Ducks answered with kills by Stone and Lauren Page to win the set.
Next up for the Ducks is a pair of road games starting with a trip to Seattle, Washington against the Huskies on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
“Last year was very fun there,” Ulmer said. “We’re going to see if we can spark that magic again.”
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter @zlast3445