This weekend, Oregon volleyball needed a confidence boost after losing both its matches at the VERT Challenge in Nebraska.
“When you open up in a tournament like the VERT challenge it shows you what you need to work on,” head coach Matt Ulmer said. “You’re playing the best teams and you see what works and doesn’t work.”
The Ducks got that confidence boost with four straight wins at home and topped it off with a dominant win on Saturday.
Oregon’s 3-0 sweep over Arkansas-Pine Bluff made the Ducks 4-0 at home in 2018, with Oregon yet to drop a set at Matthew Knight Arena. Behind a 455 hitting percentage and a team-leading 12 kills on just 14 attacks by Sumeet Gill, Oregon’s three-set win of 25-10, 25-13, 25-7 over Arkansas-Pine Bluff appeared effortless.
“I’m proud of the way we handled ourselves this week,” Ulmer said. “I thought we were consistent.”
Oregon won its first home match of 2018 on Tuesday against Portland State followed by a pair of sweeps against Utah Valley and Long Beach State on the first day of the Oregon Classic.
The Ducks had efficiency on Saturday from outside hitters Willow Johnson and Taylor Borup in the win over Utah Valley and middle blockers Gill and Lauren Page in the win over Long Beach State.
On Sunday, the Ducks cleaned up even quicker than they had in the past several matches.
Oregon flew through the first set to a 21-6 lead but gave up three straight points before earning a point on a service error to get the ball back on the Ducks’ side of the court. Oregon won the set 25-10 behind a seven kills by Gill.
“I see a lot of trust in her,” senior setter and Oregon Classic MVP August Raskie said of Gill. “I see a lot of confidence in what she’s doing. Both on the court we have a lot of trust.
It was much more of the same in the second set for Oregon, which went through a normal rotation of the team’s usual components. Gill led the Ducks with nine kills while Ronika Stone collected eight through the first two sets with the Ducks swinging at .456 percent as a team.
Following the intermission, Oregon went on a 7-0 run to start the third set. Freshman Camryn Tastad was strong from serve, earning back-to-back service aces.
The Ducks ran away with the third set and finished the day off with a Tastad ace to win the set 25-7 and take the match.
The Ducks fly south to Palo Alto to compete in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge at Stanford on Sept. 7 and 8 against Minnesota and Penn State.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow