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The Oregon Ducks gather to discuss strategy. Oregon Ducks Volleyball falls to the USC Trojans in Matthew Knight Arena on October 20, 2019. (Madi Mather/Emerald)

Oregon returned to Matthew Knight Arena on Thursday to face off against No. 14 Washington.

The Huskies swept the Ducks in three sets, 19-25, 24-26, 20-25, as Oregon fell to 3-10 in conference play.

“I thought overall we played really well,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “We only gave up one run in each of the three sets.”

Ronika Stone entered this match fired up after breaking the Oregon career record for block assists on Sunday, racking up 390 clock assists in her career. Stone also ranks fifth in Oregon history with 442 total blocks.

Stone led the Ducks in a tight match with 11 kills and three blocks. Abby Hansen contributing 6 blocks.

Oregon stayed neck and neck with Washinton in the first set but failed to keep up in the final minutes, losing the set 19-25.

“We just gave away some silly mistakes,” Ulmer said. “There were lots of good things, I want for us to continue to grow from some of those mistakes and be more competitive.”

The Ducks brought a renewed energy to the second set, blazing past the Huskies in the first in the early going before Washington ultimately tied it up at 7 a piece. 

The Huskies slowly pulled away with some crucial defense, but kills by Brooke Nuneviller, Karson Bacon and Stone kept it close in the final minutes, pulling the score to 22-22.

Sophomore Brooke Nuneviller — transitioning this year from libero to outside — totalled nine kills as one of Oregon’s go-to attackers.

Stone and Willow Johnson pulled through on a couple of powerful kills tying it up at 24-24.  Holes in the defensive line allowed the Huskies to sneak past and win the set 24-26.

“I’m really proud of Ronika and Willow for being great leaders and they continue to fight,” Ulmer said. “Our fight and our effort is never a question, you know we give everything that we have and it’s a matter of can we execute enough to beat some of the top teams.”

The Ducks thrived defensively in the first two sets with eight blocks, the Huskies with only four, but they struggled executing offensively with a .27 hitting percentage, which would ultimately be there downfall.

The Ducks did not give up in the third set though as they held a lead over the Huskies until they tied it up at 11-11.

Washington pulled ahead with a 6-0 scoring run, but Bacon lit up just when it looked like the Huskies would run away with the game, coming through with a block and two kills, keeping the Ducks in the game at 16-18.

Despite the fiery run, Oregon failed to come back completely. Washington finishing off the Ducks in three sets winning 19-25, 24-26, 20-25.

The Ducks play again at home on Sunday when they take on No. 24 Washington State.

“I think future wise it’s really exciting,” Ulmer said. “Everyday is something new. It’s a very exciting roller coaster, the highs are high and the lows are low. We just need to continue to stabilize and that can only happen with practice and time.”