The teams traded points for the first half of the first set before the Ducks broke a 13-13 tie to outscore Wichita State 12-3 down the stretch to claim a 1-0 lead.
The Ducks took advantage of that momentum and scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second set, then held off a late Shockers rally to head into the break up 2-0.
A four point run followed by a seven point streak carried the Ducks to the third set and their fifth straight victory, improving Oregon’s season record to 6-1 on the year. The loss was the first of the season for the Shockers (7-1).
“I’m really proud of us,” said Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer. “I’ve been preaching to them that this was a national match tonight. The volleyball nation is going to see this match and I wanted them to show everyone how good we are.
“This was the first time I thought we started strong; we’ve been starting very poorly. I am just really proud of us because this is a match we had to win. Wichita State is an excellent team, but that’s just how good we were tonight.”
“We really wanted to key in right from the start,” said sophomore middle blocker Ronika Stone. “We had some rough starts earlier in previous matches, so we really wanted to start fast and finish stronger.”
Willow Johnson and Lindsey Vander Weide led the Ducks with 11 kills each. Oregon’s front line attack was lethal with Taylor Agost leading the way with a hitting percentage of .750 with Stone close behind at .692. As a team the Ducks out-hit the Shockers .394 to .059.
The Ducks will conclude the four team Nike Classic with a 7:00 pm date Saturday evening against Duquesne.
~ Rick Morgan