Ducks stay perfect at home

EUGENE, Oré. — Oregon has remained perfect at home this season with a four-set victory over Utah on Friday at Matthew Knight Arena.

Mimi Colyer claimed 18 victims, Brooke Nuneviller added 15 and Gloria Mutiri finished with 14 kills on .480 hits plus six blocks as the No. 20 Ducks beat the Utes, 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 25-20. The OU Women improved to 6-0 at home this season and won back-to-back games when visiting Colorado on Sunday.

“It was a huge win for us,” said the OU setter Elise Ferreira, which started its fifth consecutive match. “We came off two very tough road trips, and I think we really needed it.”

The Ducks (12-5, 6-3 Pac-12) hit .305 as a team on Friday, improving to 9-1 this season when they hit at least .300. The Utes hit .193, losing the game despite an impressive effort from Madelyn Robinson, who hit .311 en route to a game-high 28 kills.

‘Robinson of their team is really, really good,’ OU coach Matt Ulmer said. “We struggled to stop him. But I’m really proud of our efforts, and it’s good to get a win against a good team.”

How did it happen: The Ducks opened the first set with a kill from Nuneviller followed by consecutive counters from the Mutiri tandem and Kiari Robey for a 9-4 lead. Colyer brought the serve back to Oregon with a kill at 11-6, and Elise Agi took over from there, serving two aces on a run that put Oregon up 14-6. Nuneviller had two more kills on a three-point run for a 22-14 lead en route to a 25-17 victory in the set.

“(Agi) can do some really nasty moves on the ball; his ball was falling tonight,” Ulmer said. “She was trying to serve them deep and they kept falling off, and it was really hard for them to read. I think she set the tone for us in the first set with her serve.”

The Ducks hit .472 in the first set and they held it in the second, hitting .406. Despite this, Utah led until 14-13 before the Ducks took a definite lead at 17-15 on kills from Mutiri and Colyer. It went back and forth, until Colyer and Mutiri kill, then another block from Mutiri and Robey give Oregon the set, 25-20.

The third set went to the Utes, with Oregon playing behind most of the set – despite taking a 4-0 lead on another Agi-led serve. Trailing 23-19, the Ducks scored four straight points to tie the game before Utah won 26-24. Oregon hit .079 in that set, with the Utes winning it on a UO error.

“The third set we lost, I thought it was really obvious that it was our mistakes,” Ferreira said. “There’s so much empowerment in there, that it was on our side, that we had to make changes to be successful – and we did. And I think that was proven in the fourth set.”

Another ace from Agi helped the Ducks take a 4-2 lead in the fourth set, and this time they stayed in control. Colyer had his own ace on a five-point run to lead 10-7, and Ferreira had one of his four kills on the night on a four-point run to lead 19-13. After another three-point series that included an ace by Colyer, Oregon led 22-15, at which point Utah rallied at 23-20. But Ulmer held the timeout, trusting his team to hold on, and they did so to win 25-20.

“Sometimes you really need his voice, but sometimes you’re like, no, we have that,” Ferreira said. “We have confidence in ourselves and we have confidence in our play calls and we have confidence in each other. And I think having that confidence on the pitch is so amazing.”

Notable: Nuneviller had 12 digs to go along with his 15 kills, giving him double-doubles in five straight games and 13 overall this season. … Colyer had 13 digs for his seventh double-double this season. … Robey and Colby Neal combined for 10 eliminations and eight blocks in the middle, while Georgia Murphy and Daley McClellan combined for 17 recoveries and had only two combined errors out of 53 serves received.

Quotable:

Junior setter Elise Ferriera, leading the Ducks to a .305 hit percentage
“It’s huge because hitting .300 is our goal. We have it on the board in our locker room – it’s a team goal. And to be able to hit that throughout the game was huge. for us. If we can do it on one consistently, we’re going to be really, really good. It was just amazing to be able to do this from so many different parts and not have to rely on just one part of our game.”

The head coach Matt Ulmeron the threat to score, Ferreira featured four kills
“I really liked that she called her own number a couple of times tonight which she hadn’t done in the past and I kind of begged her to do it. And she made some good readings and choosing when to do it. That’s just another thing they have to worry about. People are going to want to touch Mimi and Brooke, and if she can do some of those things, it’s not as easy for them.

Ulmer, on the back line of Nuneviller and Georgia Murphy
“Georgia and Brooke were just phenomenal tonight. We had them two up against a really good serving team that I thought were serving really hard. And they just kept us on the pace.”

Next: The Ducks host Colorado Sunday at noon.

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