PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Facing a 2-1 match deficit, the seventh-ranked Oregon volleyball team rallied for a 3-2 win (25-20, 22-25, 18-25, 25-8, 15-10) Thursday evening over James Madison. The Ducks hit .486 over the final two sets and improved to 9-1 this season.
Mimi Colyer led all players with 20 kills—10 of those in sets four and five—coupled with eight digs and three blocks. Morgan Lewis had 15 kills of her own while hitting .636 against the Dukes, committing just one error in 22 attacks. Like she did in Thursday’s five-set win over No. 8 Pitt, Lewis had the final kill in Friday’s match. The senior opposite also had five blocks.
Oregon posted a .313 hitting percentage behind 42 assists from Hannah Pukis. The Ducks have eclipsed the .300 figure in seven of 10 matches this season. Pukis and libero Georgia Murphy both had 14 digs in the match, and were joined in double figures by freshman Kate Thibault and senior Gabby Gonzales with 11 and 10 digs, respectively.
In the middle, Karson Bacon and Kara McGhee each had six blocks. Bacon also contributed seven kills and a .600 (7-1-10) hitting percentage. The Ducks’ defense limited JMU to a -.063 efficiency in sets four and five.
How It Happened
Riding the momentum of an emphatic result in the fourth set, Oregon sprinted out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth. The Ducks won 13 points in a row between the end of the fourth and start of the fifth set. At the switch, UO led 8-4 but James Madison scored four-consecutive points to pull even after an attack error by the Ducks.
However, Oregon ran off with the set—and match—thanks to a decisive 7-2 run. McGhee got up for a solo block to set up match point at 14-9, and after JMU saved the first, Lewis sealed the comeback with her 15th kill.
After a back-and-forth start to Friday’s match, the Ducks turned a 17-all score to a 20-17 lead with the help of a mini run that included kills from Colyer and Lewis. James Madison (7-3) pulled to within one at 20-19 but UO rattled off five of the last six points to secure the opening and the 1-0 match lead. Lewis led the way with four kills in the opening frame.
The start to the second set mirrored the beginning of the match with the teams trading points but back-to-back kills from Colyer lifted the Ducks to a 10-7 advantage. However, JMU pushed back with a 7-0 run to gain control of play. Oregon got to within a point with the Dukes leading 18-17 but never regained the lead. The team fought off three set points before JMU got a kill to even things up.
Early in the third, James Madison took control of play by winning six of seven points to take a 10-5 lead. The Ducks got as close as two with consecutive kills from Lewis and Colyer but JMU pulled away late to take the 2-1 advantage on the scoreboard.
Oregon wasted no time running out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth. Thibault tallied the first two aces of her career during the run that forced the Dukes to use an early timeout. The Ducks pushed their lead to 16-7 after a mini run between Colyer and Bacon. During the surge, each had a kill and also teamed up for a block.
Holding a 16-8 lead, the Ducks finished the fourth on a nine-point run to close out the set and send the match to five. Bacon posted four of her six blocks in the fourth.
Friday marked just the third meeting between Oregon and James Madison, and the first since 2003.
The Ducks travel to Milwaukee, Wis., for their non-conference finale Sunday against Marquette. First serve is scheduled for 11 a.m. (PT) and will be televised on FS1. Marquette (3-6) will play Air Force on Saturday prior to its matchup with Oregon. The Golden Eagles are receiving votes in the most recent AVCA rankings.