No. 24 Oregon Ducks volleyball team swept the Saint Mary’s Gaels (West Coast Conference) 25-18, 25-17, 25-16 to win the Nike Invitational in Oregon. Oregon’s 7-2 record puts them at No. 24 on the AVCA Coaches Poll.
In their second straight undefeated weekend, the Ducks have finished up their last non-conference games. Taylor Agost, junior outside hitter, was named MVP of the Nike Invitational and finished against Saint Mary’s with a 3-0 victory.
Saint Mary’s took early leads in both the first and second sets, but the Ducks went on a 14-4 run to take the 17-11 lead. The Gaels quickly came back to lead 20-16, but two Saint Mary’s two errors gave Oregon the momentum they needed to take the first set.
In the third set, Oregon took a 12-5 lead and maintained the lead to shut Saint Mary’s out of the match.
Courtesy of Oregon Athletics
EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon volleyball team concluded non-conference play with its seventh straight win, sweeping Saint Mary’s, 25-18, 25-17, 25-16, in the final match of the Nike Invitational on Sunday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena.
How It Happened: The Ducks (7-2) picked up their second straight undefeated weekend, winning the Nike Invitational with three straight sweeps, and have now won 21 of their last 22 sets. Oregon put away Saint Mary’s behind stellar performances by freshman Jolie Rasmussen (15 kills, .333) and sophomore Lindsey Vander Weide (11 kills, .562). Rasmussen’s 15 kills are a new season and career-high, while Vander Weide’s mark of .562 is the second-best in her career. Lauren Page added eight kills while hitting .600, and Taylor Agost put down six kills on 13 swings. Maggie Scott led all players with 25 assists, while Amanda Benson dug 14 balls. The Ducks outhit the Gaels, .374 to .125, and finished with eight blocks to SMC’s seven. Scott paced the Ducks to 50 team assists, while August Raskie added 19.
Agost was named the MVP of the Nike Invitational after hitting .432 with 22 kills over the weekend, averaging 2.75 kills per set. During the Ducks’ seven-match winning streak, Agost is hitting .486 with 3.00 kills per set, leading the team with 57 total kills Benson and Vander Weide joined Agost on the All-Tournament Team, earning the honor for the second straight weekend. Vander Weide hit .412 over the three matches while leading the field with 28 kills, and averaged 3.56 digs per set while adding two aces. Benson led the tournament with 5.00 digs per set and 45 total digs, proving to be a vital part of the Oregon defense.
Set 1: After Saint Mary’s took an initial 6-4 lead, the Ducks found their groove with a 14-4 run to go up 17-11 and force a timeout by the Gaels. Oregon came out of the break with two more points, but Saint Mary’s responded with a 5-1 run to cut the Ducks’ lead to 20-16 and force head coach Jim Moore to take a timeout. The Ducks finished the set on a 5-2 run, aided by two Gaels’ errors, to come away with a 25-18 win. Agost led all players with five kills on eight swings, Page added four and Scott dished out 10 assists while digging six balls.
Set 2: An initial 4-3 Saint Mary’s lead was erased by a 8-3 stretch by the Ducks. The Gaels responded with three straight points to get within 12-11, but Oregon rattled off an 8-1 run to extend its lead to 19-13, forcing a Saint Mary’s timeout. After two more Oregon points, the Gaels scored three in a row to mount a threat, but the Ducks responded with four of the final five points to win the set and take a 2-0 lead at the break. Vander Weide led the Ducks with six kills in the second set, while Rasmussen added five and an ace and Nady came on strong with four kills and a pair of blocks. At the break, the Ducks were outhitting Saint Mary’s, .286 to .088.
Set 3: Oregon opened up a 12-5 lead with a five-point run early in the set, and extended that lead to 17-9 with a 5-2 run. The Ducks ended the set with a 6-3 stretch to put the game and the match away. Rasmussen ended her strong performance with a stellar final set, putting down seven kills in the third for the second time in as many days. Page produced her second four-kill set of the match, while adding a pair of blocks. As a team, the Ducks hit a combined .600 in the final game.
What It Means: After dropping two early matches against top-10 teams, the Ducks have found their groove and carry a ton of momentum going into Pac-12 play. The emergence of Rasmussen provides a tremendous compliment to Vander Weide and Agost, already established offensive forces, while Benson Ronika Stone have shored up the Oregon defense. Moore has had the task of finding the right combinations with so many young, talented pieces, and that should continue as the Ducks move into conference play. The Ducks’ depth should prove to be an important commodity as the level of competition increases.
Head Coach Jim Moore
On the progress of the team…
“We need to be better offensively. We have to have a lot more precision in our attack routes, but we’re getting away with it right now because we’re really athletic and if we’re going to get to where we want to go, we have to be a lot better offensively.”
On the team’s play defensively…
“We let up a little defensively at the end. We held them to under .100 most of the game, but we let up a little at the end. I think our defense is pretty good, so we have to find a way to sustain that level of defense.”
All-Tournament Team: Taylor Agost (Oregon – MVP)
Amanda Benson (Oregon)
Lindsey Calvin (SMC)
Jordyn Poulter (Illinois)
Jacqueline Quade (Illinois)
Emma Price (Belmont)
Lindsey Vander Weide (Oregon)
Up Next: The Ducks will get an 11-day break before opening Pac-12 play with a Civil War matchup against Oregon State on Sept. 22. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
Jolie Rasmussen (15 kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks)
Lindsey Vander Weide (11 kills, 1 block)
Lauren Page (8 kills, 2 blocks)
Taylor Agost (6 kills, 2 blocks)
Follow the Ducks on Facebook and Twitter @OregonVB
Courtesy of Saint Mary’s Athletics
EUGENE, Ore. — Another nationally recognized opponent for the second straight day tested the Saint Mary’s volleyball team Sunday, but host Oregon earned a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-16) sweep over the Gaels in the final match of the Nike Invitational at Matthews Arena.
Oregon (7-2), which received votes in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, was the Gaels’ second nationally recognized opponent in as many days after facing No. 21 Illinois Saturday. The Ducks hit .375 in the match and had two players with double-digit kills. Jolie Rasmussen led all players with 15 kills. Lindsey Vander Weide had 11 and Lauren Page had eight.
Lindsey Calvin was named to the Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team. Sunday she recorded five kills with a block and a dig. Lindsey Knudsen led Saint Mary’s with seven kills. Madi Wilkerson had a team-high 16 digs with three assists, a kill and a service ace.
“This tournament has been very good for us,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Rob Browning. “We were simply overpowered against Illinois and Oregon. Teams like that really stretch us and expose areas where we are weak. If we are good at addressing those weaknesses then our experience in this tournament will make us a better team.”
Saint Mary’s returns home Friday and Saturday to host Bay Area rivals Stanford and California, respectively. Tickets are available and on sale now for all home matches. Tickets can be purchased on the SMC tickets web site or by calling (925) 631-GoTx. Season tickets, group tickets and single-match tickets are all available for purchase.
“Our leadership was tested at different times this weekend. We’ve got some very strong leadership on this team, but that will always be a work in progress and we are pushing them to step up in bigger and better ways.”
The first set looked to establish a tone of competitiveness as neither team could pull away by more than two for the first 18 points. But a 10-3 Oregon run spurred by kills from four different players helped give it a 19-11 lead en route to a 25-18 set victory.
Oregon trailed just once in the second set at 4-3 after its own attack error. It regained the lead quicker than the first set, firing off an 8-2 run to lead 11-6. Saint Mary’s stayed close, pulling to within three at 15-12 after a Ducks service error.
But Oregon would double up the Gaels the rest of the way, outscoring them 10-5 to win 25-17 and take a 2-0 match lead. Oregon never trailed in the third set, running out to a 12-5 lead and never looking back to finish the sweep.
“I think that we were stretched this weekend and that the challenge was really good for us,” said Calvin. “It exposed what we need to improve, and personally I’m looking forward to working on blocking before our next matches.”
Up Next: Saint Mary’s will face Stanford and California next Friday and Saturday.
Lindsey Knudsen (7 kills, 1 ace, 2 digs)
Sarah Chase (6 kills, 10 digs, 3 blocks)
Lindsey Calvin (5 kills, 1 dig, 1 block
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