Knotted at ten in the fifth set, the Colorado Buffaloes scored the last five points to snap Oregon’s four match winning streak 3-2 (17-25, 19-25, 25-17, 25-9, 10-15) Friday evening at Matthew Knight Arena.
“When you get into a fifth set anything can happen” said Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer.
Given the Buffalo had the Ducks on their heels early and easily won the first two sets, Ulmer had to be happy his side rallied to take sets three and four to set the stage for a what was in the end a disappointing fifth set.
What was said in the locker room at the break? “He (Ulmer) said we can either go home in three sets or we can play like we are capable of playing,” said senior setter Maggie Scott.
The pep talk worked as the Ducks earned a hard fought victory in the third set then blasted the Buffaloes in the fourth to even the match at two sets apiece.
“I liked our response. I thought Maggie’s serving was what started to turn things around for us,” said Ulmer.
But the Ducks ran out of steam in the fifth. Tied at ten, ex-Duck Frankie Shebby turned the tide Colorado’s way with a pair of kills to help close out the match leaving the Ducks to wonder what if they had played a better game in the opening two sets.
“The results would have been different,” said Scott.
Jolie Rasmussen led the Ducks with 14 kills and Oregon out hit Colorado .297 to .234 but it was not enough to erase the early deficit.
With the loss Oregon’s record slips to 14-6 overall and 7-5 in conference. Colorado improved to 16, 6-5 Pac-12. Up next for the Ducks are the Bay Area schools with Oregon facing California on Friday, November 3rd followed by league leading Stanford on Sunday, November 5th. The Pac-12 Networks will carry the Stanford match beginning at 1:00 pm.
The Ducks return to Matthew Knight Arena to host the Washington schools with the Cougars up first on Friday November 17 at 3:00 pm, followed by the Huskies on Sunday, November 19th at 1:00 pm. Both matches will be televised via the Pac-12 Networks.
~ Rick Morgan