In the past two weeks, Oregon senior Taylor Agost has set career-high records in four consecutive matches — all in a position she has not played since her senior year of high school.
After Oregon’s matches against Colorado and No. 15 Utah in late September, head coach Matt Ulmer noticed the team was having difficulties on the left side of the court and knew something had to change.
A week later, on the morning of Oregon’s match against No. 2 Stanford, sophomore Jolie Rasmussen was told that she was not cleared to play, which led head coach Matt Ulmer to make a change. He called upon Agost to play a full-rotation of court positions.
“Matt called me, and it’s funny the way he said it,” Agost said. “He goes, ‘Are you sitting down?’ and I was like ‘Oh, no. But I can be.’ It was kind of a shock at first and it was a big game with Stanford. I told myself that I had two choices: I could either be nervous and cower, or I could rise to the occasion and be aggressive.”
Even with limited practices in her new position, Agost ended the weekend with a career-high 11 digs against the Cardinals and a career-high five aces two days later against Cal.
“We could have done what we did last week, but I didn’t like it enough,” Ulmer said after the match against Stanford. “I thought we had a better shot making a move and Taylor hasn’t played all the way around in the outside since high school. She was phenomenal.”
Agost’s standout performances in the new lineup continued during Oregon’s road trip to Washington the following week.
In last Wednesday’s five set loss against then-ranked No. 14 Washington, Agost earned her second double-double of the season with a career-high 19 kills and tied her record 11 digs.
For the second straight match, Agost ended Oregon’s five set win over Washington State with 24 kills, another career high and the most by a Duck since September of 2016. The senior added seven digs, two blocks and an ace to the night’s performance as well.
“Taylor Agost was fantastic all week and without her, it would have been really rough,” Ulmer said. “I’m really proud of what she’s done. I think her teammates are willing to have her back, and she’s becoming a leader.”
Aside from the string of career highs, Agost has enjoyed playing more with her teammates and adding more responsibility to her role on the court.
“What I like most is not even volleyball related,” Agost said. “It’s just being able to be on the court more with my team and being able to give more. I’m so passionate about volleyball and I love my teammates so much, so being on the court and providing a bunch of energy and enthusiasm is the best part.”
Teammate and fellow senior Maggie Scott said that Agost’s new position has taken a lot of pressure off her role as setter, because she knows that if the team becomes out of sync, she can count on Agost to get them back on track.
“I think it not only shows her athletic ability, but also her versatility,” Scott said. “I have been playing with her for four years so to see her grow into the player she is right now has been really special. I’m super proud and happy for her.”
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter @maggie_vanoni