No. 13 Ducks Volleyball Team Passes Road Test at Rice

HOUSTON, Texas – The No. 13 Oregon volleyball team continued its undefeated start to the season with a four-set win Thursday evening at Rice. For the second time in her career, Brooke Nuneviller eclipsed the 30-kill barrier with 31 kills and added 21 digs to complete the double-double performance. With the result, the Ducks improve to 4-0 this season.

In the first-ever meeting between the two programs, Oregon and SMU plays Friday afternoon in Houston.

Nuneviller was one of three Ducks with a double-double Thursday, joining the efforts of Taylor Borup who tallied 13 kills and tied a career high with 19 digs, and Elise Ferreira who recorded a career-high 50 assists to go along with 15 digs.

Libero Georgia Murphy and Becca Morse collected 22 and 12 digs, respectively, while Karson Bacon led all players with eight total blocks. She was one of four Ducks with at least three blocks: Bacon, Borup (3), Abby Hansen (3) and Gloria Mutiri (3).

The Ducks’ 97 digs are the eighth most by the program since the start of the rally scoring era in 2001 and the most since Oregon had 94 digs in a Sweet Sixteen matchup at Minnesota in 2018.

The teams split the first two sets, each winning with a 25-23 score line. Oregon won the opening frame and Rice (0-3) took the second to even the match.

With the score tied early in the third, the host Owls rattled off five-consecutive points to take a 9-4 lead. Rice extended the lead to 17-11, forcing a timeout from Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer.

Out of the timeout, the Ducks won 10 of the next 12 points. The final three points of the surge featured a second-contact kill by Ferriera, a solo block for Bacon and a kill off the hand of Nuneviller. By the time Rice called timeout, Oregon led 21-19. However, the Owls pulled even at 21-all, good for the eighth (and final) tie of the set.

The Ducks pushed ahead again with the help of a Mutiri kill and Nuneviller ace; UO led 24-21. Rice saved two set points to pull to within one, and on the third, Oregon secured the 2-1 match lead after the home team was whistled for four contacts following a Borup attack.

After a nearly 20-minute delay that featured a challenged, several discussions between the officials and, subsequently, the teams, and a flip through the rules book, the point was officially awarded to the Ducks for the lead.

Nuneviller put down 10 of her 31 kills in the third set.

Oregon rode the momentum into the fourth, taking a 9-5 advantage after three-consecutive Nuneviller kills. As was customary throughout the match, the trailing team—Rice, in this instance—put together a rally.

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At 13-all, the Ducks won five of the next six points to create some separation on the scoreboard. Bacon got in on three blocks during the surge of points. Oregon extended its lead to a seven-point advantage and a handful of match points at 24-17. Rice saved four match points but on the fifth, Ferreira put up a ball for Borup that she put away for the kill and the UO victory.

Nuneviller and Borup finished the night with .338 and .306 hitting percentages, respectively. Mutiri, the third UO player with double-digit kills (10), registered a .296 hitting percentage against the Owls.

The Ducks are back home Sept. 10-11 to host the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, a four-team field that also features No. 10 Minnesota, No. 17 Penn State and No. 20 Stanford.

2021 Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge

Matthew Knight Arena (Eugene, Ore.)

Friday, Sept. 3

4 p.m. – Stanford vs Minnesota

7 p.m. – Oregon vs Penn State

Saturday, Sept. 4

4 p.m. – Stanford vs Penn State

7 p.m. – Oregon vs Minnesota