Entering the heavyweight series with an 11-game winning streak the Ducks fell to the 5th ranked Huskies 20-25, 18-25, 23-25 on Friday evening at Matthew Knight Arena.
“I think we played like we were trying to protect something,” said head coach Jim Moore. “”We were great when we decided we would play and do what we were supposed to … It looked like we were trying … not lose, so we looked like we were protecting.”
Taylor Agost and Lindsey Vander Weide led the Ducks in kills with 8 apiece while the Huskies outhit Oregon .230 to .177.
Eight service errors didn’t help the cause as Vander Weide acknowledged. “We came out nervous,” the sophomore outside hitter said. “Obviously with a team like (Washington), we have to jump on them fast. We can’t get down because they’re going to play strongly the whole match. It’s hard to come from behind.”
The lessons learned were put to quick use on Sunday with the Ducks handing the 10th ranked Cougars their first loss of the season, 25-21, 25-10, 25-14.
Moore was quick to point out the difference in his post match remarks.
“We came out attacking,” he said. “I wish we would have done that Friday night. This was a lot better; we had a lot better focus. This was a better way to approach the game. I hate to say this, but you have to learn sometime. It makes me unhappy that I’m saying that, but you have to learn lessons the hard way most of the time.”
Agost and freshman outside hitter Jolie Rasmussen with seven kills each led the attack for the Ducks who outhit Washington State .386 to .056.
“The loss was really tough, we came out really aggressive,” said Agost. “… (today) we were all over them, we just really wanted this win. The energy was high and the focus was really good and we came out and were successful.”
“We had a practice yesterday as well as a team meeting and film and we talked for about two hours and we talked for a long time which I think really helped us. Our practice was also really good, we stayed disciplined, and we came out today and I could tell during warm ups that we were really focused.”
With the split, Oregon is tied the Cougars for the conference lead with a record of 5-1 in Pac-12 play and 12-3 overall.
Conference play continues with the Ducks hosting 20th-ranked UCLA on Wednesday beginning at 7:00 pm followed by an 8:00 pm date with USC on Friday.