Oregon needed one point in the fifth set.
The set was at 14-13 Ducks when Tara Wulf was at the line to serve for Baylor.
The ball traveled from Oregon’s side and quickly back to Baylor’s side of the court, Baylor made an errant overpass and Ronika Stone was waiting on the other side of the net.
Stone hammered the ball right back down onto Baylor’s side of the court, sending the 2,508 in attendance into a frenzy as the No. 15 seeded Oregon Ducks defeated the Baylor Bears in five sets (25-18, 13-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13) to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
“I think I just blacked out really,” Stone said. “It was the greatest feeling ever just for our seniors and continue to fight for them. And I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.”
The Ducks will advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014 behind the attack of senior Lindsey Vander Weide and the block of Stone. Vander Weide ended her final night at Matthew Knight Arena with 21 kills and 12 digs. Stone concluded her night with 11 kills, six digs and eight blocks.
“Lindsey really wanted it and she was scoring well,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “Last night and tonight she wasn’t going to be stopped, she was going to put the team on her back if she had to.”
Oregon entered the fourth set up 2-1 against and all the momentum was trending toward an Oregon victory early on.
The Ducks jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead in set four, but Baylor quickly fought back going on a 5-0 scoring run to lead the Ducks 7-6. Oregon took a late-set lead going up 20-17 but again Baylor didn’t quit and rallied back on multiple scoring runs to win set four 25-22.
The Bears were led by the Yossiana Presley in set four, who is the Big-12 leader in kills per set. She finished the night with 17 kills but was slowed down in the fifth set.
“We had a game plan on them from the beginning we knew what their tendencies were,” Vander Weide said. “Shutting someone down was a great feeling.”
Oregon played a strong third set and never let the Bears into the set. Oregon rattled off multiple scoring runs in set three and was capped off by Willow Johnson, who had another strong performance from service, leading her team with three service aces.
Baylor dominated Oregon in set two, winning 25-13.
Oregon came out the gate hot on offense in set one. The Ducks jumped out to a quick 15-5 lead hitting .786% as a team halfway through the set. Despite an attempt at a comeback, Baylor fell short loosing set one 25-18.
Oregon will learn its Sweet 16 destination over the next few days as the teams continue to play through their regional matchups, but it is most likely that the Ducks will take a trip to No. 2 Minnesota, who Oregon beat in nonconference play earlier this year.
Follow Gabriel on Twitter @gabe_ornelas