Weekend Opens With Sweep of Utah  

EUGENE, Ore. — The Oregon volleyball team was pushed by a tough-serving Utah squad for two sets Friday night, before the Ducks got firing on all cylinders in the third to clinch a sweep of the Utes before 2,925 fans in Matthew Knight Arena.

The No. 7 Ducks (20-4, 10-3 Pac-12) had to fight off four set points to win the second, before rallying to win and then carrying that momentum in the third for a 26-24, 29-27, 25-12 victory. The Utes had nine service aces through two sets but none in the third.

“They had us on our heels a lot,” UO coach Matt Ulmer said. “But I thought we figured it out and made some nice adjustments. I thought we played some really good volleyball in the third set, and they had a hard time keeping up with that.”

Mimi Colyer had 12 kills to lead the Ducks, and Morgan Lewis added 11. Gabby Gonzales, Kara McGhee and Karson Bacon added seven each, and Hannah Pukis had 33 assists with 10 digs and four blocks.

Ulmer called the twin performances from Colyer and Lewis “a big deal for us,” adding, “if we’re going to play for a long time this year, we’re going to need the two of them to score a lot.”

How It Happened: Two early kills by Lewis got the Ducks out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set. A 4-0 run gave Utah a 10-7 lead, but Oregon responded with four straight to retake the lead. Consecutive kills by Lewis gave the UO women a 16-13 advantage, but that was the last time either team led by more than two. Utah fought off set point to force a 24-24 tie, but a block by Colyer and McGhee followed by a Utah error clinched it for the Ducks.

Lewis was already well on her way to her 11 kills on the night, matching her total from a win at Utah a month earlier.

“I think some of my strengths go along well with the defense they run,” Lewis said. “I feel like if I just play my game, it’s usually pretty successful.”

Oregon tied the second set 2-2 to regain serve, which was then in the hands of freshman Kate Thibault. Before she was done, the Ducks had scored eight straight to lead 9-2, with Colyer recording the last three kills. Utah answered with a 7-2 run, however, and later scored three straight to retake the lead in the set, 19-17.

When it was 24-21, the Ducks got a kill from McGhee and two from Bacon to fight off three set points, and Oregon later fought off another down 26-25. Colyer then broke a 27-27 tie with a kill and an ace to put the Ducks up two sets to none.

Bacon’s availability has been limited in recent weeks, but she played all three sets Friday and led the Ducks with six blocks.

“We’re pretty late in the season, with a lot of different things going on,” she said. “At any point it (could be) anyone’s turn to go in. You just kind of come ready to play and see who’s in.”

The third set was all Oregon. The Ducks put together a 10-1 run after Utah scored the opening point of the set, and Lewis capped a 4-0 run to make it 19-7. Up 23-12, Oregon closed out the match with kills from Bacon and Colyer and a block by McGhee and Pukis.

Up Next: The Ducks host Colorado on Sunday (noon, Pac-12 Network).

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