Oregon volleyball swept the Oregon State Beavers its opening match of Pac-12 play to continue the Ducks’ win streak, which now sits at eight games.
Oregon got off to a quick start, earning a 9-3 lead that forced Oregon State to take a timeout. The margin increased to 11-3 until the Beavers got a couple points back to try and cut down on the Ducks’ strong start.
The Oregon freshmen dominated, producing a total of 30 kills and only three errors between Jolie Rasmussen, Willow Johnson and Ronika Stone. Even with the environment of a first Pac-12 match along with the added importance of a Civil War match did not unsettle the rookies.
“Having my first Civil War was crazy. The band really got us hyped in the beginning so we were really excited to come out,” Stone said. “It’s weird. I’m not really nervous. When I’m on the court I don’t really worry about the crowd as much. It’s just like practice.”
The Beavers began to climb back, but Oregon proved to be too resilient for its rivals from up I-5. Stone and Johnson each had five kills in the Ducks’ dominant first set in which Oregon made only one attack error.
Oregon won the first set 25-13 but the second set saw the Beavers keep pace with the Ducks. Oregon State had small leads that would switch with Oregon but the Ducks began to pull away late in the second set after Rasmussen converted three straight kills for the Ducks. Oregon avoided a close call when the Beavers fought back to tighten the gap to 23-21 but the Ducks won 25-21.
Headed into the intermission up two sets, Oregon looked poised to win the match. Senior Amanda Benson, who was recently named Pac-12 defensive player of the week, had 20 digs after the first two sets.
The Ducks jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the third set. Oregon’s lead was too much for the Beavers to overcome and the Ducks clinched the match with a score of 25-16.
“We lost our focus twice and that’s going to be our key. Can we stay in attack mode for an entire match?” head coach Jim Moore said. “It’s going to come down to serving and passing.”
Oregon’s depth was on display yet again as multiple players were rotated, adding up to 14 players seeing action.
“It’s cool that we’re all able to play,” Stone said. “Jim [Moore] is having everyone rotated and giving everyone chances to play so it’s hard to scout us.”
The win was not clean, but was a good test for the Ducks before their match Friday night against California at Matthew Knight Arena.
“We’ve got to play back-to-back and be ready every single night,” Moore said. “Lindsey [Vander Weide] played the whole match. … It’s such a huge advantage that we’re this deep and we can get people in and out.”
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow