HONOLULU, Hawaii – Facing a ranked challenge in its season opener, the No. 9 Oregon volleyball team responded with a straight-set victory (25-21, 25-22, 25-13) over 13th-ranked San Diego Friday evening at the Rainbow Wahine Classic. The Ducks generated a .341 hitting percentage while holding USD to a .062 figure thanks, in part, to 13.0 total team blocks.
Mimi Colyer led all players with 15 kills while hitting .324 while Morgan Lewis and Gabby Gonzales put down nine (.368) and seven kills (.300), respectively. From her setter’s position, Hannah Pukis recorded 30 assists, eight digs, two aces, two kills and a block.
Defensively, Karson Bacon registered a match-high seven blocks followed closely by fellow middle Kara McGhee who turned away six USD attacks. Libero Georgia Murphy had 10 digs and six assists against the Toreros while Colyer and Daley McClellan picked up nine and seven digs, respectively.
How It Happened
The Ducks never trailed in the opening set and jumped out to a 10-6 advantage on the fourth kill of the match for Colyer. The lead built to as much as six—15-9—to force San Diego to use its second timeout. Later in the set, the Toreros used a five-point surge to pull even at 17-all but Oregon responded with a 5-1 fun of its own to regain control of play.
Holding on to a two-point lead late in the opener, the Ducks took advantage of an errant serve by San Diego to arrive at set point. Senior middle blocker Karson Bacon closed out the set with a solo stuff on the next point to give UO the early 1-0 match lead.
The offense generated a .357 hitting percentage in the first set while the defense collected to hold the Toreros to a .119 figure with the help of five total blocks.
San Diego (0-1) responded with a quick start in the second, taking a 9-4 lead after an Oregon error and forcing head coach Matt Ulmer to burn an early timeout. Facing an uphill climb, the Ducks began to chip away at the deficit and got to within two—USD up 17-15—to send the Toreros to the bench to huddle.
Oregon went on to tie the score at 18-all after consecutive kills from Gonzales and Lewis. After a Bacon-Colyer tandem block, the Ducks had their first lead at 21-20. The block was part of a 6-0 run, and after a service ace by Georgia Murphy, the team had a handful of set points at 24-20. San Diego saved two but on the third, Colyer put away another kill to complete the set comeback.
Early in the third, another six-point run put the Ducks on top for good. Colyer had three kills during the surge that also featured a kill each from Bacon and Gonzales and a block where they teamed up for the point. The advantage was 8-4 to force a San Diego timeout.
The advantage never dropped below four points and reached double digits—19-9—after a USD error. Oregon kept applying the pressure and arrived at match point—24-11—on McGhee’s first kill of the night. The Toreros extended play with a pair of kills by Nemo Beach but Oregon closed out the top-15 matchup with the help of an errant serve by its opponent.
Beach led San Diego with 10 kills.
Pukis reached 4,000 career assists with her fifth helper of the match, an assist to Gonzales in the first. The Tacoma, Wash., native is in her second season at Oregon after beginning her collegiate career at Washington State. Gonzales (Ohio State) and McGhee (Baylor) were making their debuts for Oregon.
The Ducks take on Northwestern in their second match of the Rainbow Wahine Classic. First serve is scheduled for Saturday at 7:45 p.m. (PT). The programs haven’t played since 2000.
Season tickets, starting at just $54, are available through the UO ticket office or by clicking HERE. The Ducks’ home opener will double as the team’s Pac-12 opener Friday, Sept. 22, against Oregon State.
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