Missed Chances Cost Huskies In First Defeat
Oct. 13, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. - The second-ranked Washington volleyball team saw its 16-match win streak snapped tonight at fifth-ranked Oregon, a disappointing outcome more for how the Huskies put themselves in positions to win but could not close the deal. The Huskies (16-1, 7-1 Pac-12) saw leads in the first and third sets slip away, as Oregon (16-1, 7-1 Pac-12) got the 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 25-17 victory in front of 3,978 fans at Matthew Knight Arena.
Washington had two set points in the first set, leading 24-22, but the Ducks ran off four points in a row to steal the first frame. After the Huskies came back to level things with a second set win, Washington owned a 20-15 lead in the third set, but Oregon closed on a 10-2 run to regain momentum. Washington and Oregon now sit tied for second in the Pac-12 standings behind 8-0 Stanford, which visits Alaska Airlines Arena this coming Friday for a 6 p.m. match.
"If you don't play well at the end of games, you're not going to win. It's just basic. We made some errors at the end of games. We were in a position for sure to win two other games. Having the ability to stay focused on the things that tell you what to do allows you to be in the right place at the right time."
Still, the hostile environment should help the Huskies moving forward. "The environment was awesome. I wish every environment was like that for our team," McLaughlin said. "I don't think we responded as well as we will."
The attack percentages were nearly even, with Oregon ending up at .288 compared to .281 for the Huskies. The Ducks had 66 kills to 51 for UW, but the Huskies made up for that with a huge blocking night, rejecting 19 Oregon shots while the Ducks had just five blocks. Washington served aggressively as usual but made 14 service errors, while Oregon missed just seven.
Senior Amanda Gil had 14 block assists, the most since her return to action and the most by any Pac-12 player all year. Sophomore Krista Vansant had 14 kills on a strong .333 attack percentage, while Alaina Bergsma led Oregon with 23 kills on a .348 percentage.
The Huskies started to creep out to a lead in the first set on a kill by sophomore Kaleigh Nelson, then a block by Nelson and Gil that made it 8-6 Huskies. Washington then made a run on the serve of setter Katy Beals, as Gil assisted on two more blocks, and then Beals served up two straight aces for a 13-7 UW lead. Senior Kylin Muñoz finished one for a 16-11 UW edge, and then converted another a point later for 17-12. Freshman Cassie Strickland kept the lead at five with a kill for 19-14, but then Oregon started to make a run, winning three of the next four. Beals set Vansant for a kill and a 22-18 UW lead, but then the Huskies got caught in the net twice in a row, giving up the points on blocking errors. But a Nelson swing brought UW to set point at 24-22. Oregon saved the first on a Katherine Fischer kill, and then Nelson was blocked by the Ducks. Oregon then moved up one on a kill by Bergsma, and then converted its first set point on an Ariana Williams swing to stun UW with the 26-24 set win. Muñoz was at her best, with six kills on a .625 percentage in the first set, and the Huskies hit .343 overall, but Oregon came on to hit .429.
Oregon used the momentum from the end of the second set to earn an early three-point lead in the second set. The Ducks held that edge and then used another three-point run to open up a 16-11 lead before Vansant killed a set from Jenni Nogueras and then Kelcey Dunaway and Gabbi Parker roofed a Williams swing to start UW's comeback. The Husky block stuffed two more Duck swings and then Parker came up with a kill to force an Oregon timeout with UO up 18-17. But another block, Gil and Muñoz this time, tied things up and then Parker gave the Huskies the lead with another kill, and then it was Gil and Muñoz's turn for another block as UW went up 20-18 on a 6-0 run. Vansant then posted consecutive kills for a 23-19 edge, and Muñoz finished another to bring up set point at 24-20. This time UW needed just one try, with Vansant putting away the Beals set to take it, 25-20. Washington had a whopping eight blocks in the second set alone, six from Gil, and Vansant also had six kills, as Oregon hit just .047.
Kills from Dunaway and Nelson were followed by a block from Dunaway and Parker for a quick 5-2 lead in the third set for the Dawgs. Dunaway aced the Ducks and then a UO miss made it 8-4, but Oregon made a run to cut the lead to one, before Gil registered two more stuffs to get it back to an 11-8 lead. The Ducks answered again, and tied it up at 12, but Vansant connected to keep the lead. At 13-all, Nelson got two straight finishes and a bad set on the Ducks forced a UO timeout with the Huskies up 16-13. Gil found the floor and then Beals served up another big ace followed by a Muñoz and Gil rejection for a 20-15 Husky lead that forced the last Ducks timeout. But Beals missed serve out of the break and then Gil found herself blocked. Muñoz finished for a 21-17 edge, but then the Ducks turned the match again with a 5-0 surge with Bergsma getting four kills in a row. Vansant answered to tie it back up at 22, but then the Huskies missed serve again, and Oregon got kills on the next two rallies to frustrate UW late in another set, 25-22. Bergsma was on fire with eight kills on 11 swings for a .636 percentage in the third set, while UW missed four serves.
In the fourth set, two swings from Parker had the Huskies within one, down 7-6, but an Oregon ace pushed that to 10-7 and forced a Husky timeout. Vansant got the kill out of the break and a block by Dunaway and Vansant cut the lead to one, but the Ducks used another 3-0 burst to build it back up to 15-11 and force another UW timeout. Another 3-0 run shortly after the break pushed the lead to six points, and the Huskies did not have another run left this time, as Oregon closed out the victory, 25-17. Oregon rolled again in the fourth set, hitting .469 while UW hit .296 but Vansant notably got just two swings all set.