With the end of the season looming ahead, the Ducks needed a win on Sunday against Arizona State after dropping a crucial match to Arizona on Friday.
Oregon came through with a clutch performance and won the match 3-1 to snap its three-match home losing streak.
“We definitely needed that,” Oregon outside hitter Lindsey Vander Weide, who threw down 19 kills, said. “Obviously, it sucks losing at home. Everybody wants to win in front of their home crowd.”
Oregon won the first two sets with relative ease — the first by a score of 25-21, and the second 25-18. But the Sun Devils gave them a run for their money by winning a closely-contested third set.
Despite keeping ASU at a .051 hitting percentage in the first set, the Ducks allowed them to improve to .179 and .333 in the second and third sets. Part of that issue was Oregon’s block. Even though middle blocker Kacy Nady led the team with four blocks, three of them solo, Oregon’s suffered in the third set, as the team tallied only one block.
“We’ve got to block better,” Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. “They hit .333, and we can’t let them do that. I don’t know what that was. All of a sudden, we just stopped blocking.”
Simply put, Oregon was less dominant in the third set. ASU picked up a 17-13 lead after scoring three points in a row, two of which came from Oregon errors.
At times throughout the match, the Duck’s serve looked dominant. The Ducks finished with nine service aces, three of which were supplied by outside hitter Jolie Rasmussen. However, the team also finished with 11 service errors.
“I thought we kind of relaxed a little bit,” Vander Weide said. “And that’s something we need to work on, knowing that we don’t just have it and attacking all the way through.”
With the score 22-19 in favor of the Sun Devils, things were looking precarious late in the third set. The Ducks looked to Vander Weide, who already had 13 kills at this point in the match. In the last couple minutes of the set, she put down three more to help Oregon tie the score at 25-25. The teams traded points until ASU put down two kills to win the set 29-27.
“We didn’t do anything to stop them, so they kept having set point, set point, set point,” Moore said. “Eventually, they’re going to score one of them.”
Moore believes Oregon simply lost its composure but reacted well in the fourth set to ASU’s pressure. Late in the set, Willow Johnson put down two kills in a row to help Oregon push it to match point and take four point lead. Vander Weide once again proved her offensive prowess by scoring her final kill of the game to give Oregon the win.
“Everything was on today,” Vander Weide said. “But I think honestly my swings are all just myself fixing little things.”
On Friday, the Ducks will be heading to Washington, where they will face a No. 7 Huskies team that defeated Oregon in its previous match-up.
“We are ready to take them on again,” Vander Weide said. “We’ve been good on the road so let’s hope we continue with that.”
Follow Hannah Bonnie on Twitter @hbonnie03