Oregon head coach Matt Ulmer saw Wednesday’s match against 12th-ranked Utah as a key test for the Ducks and after Oregon’s four set win over the Utes his team passed the “eye test” with flying colors.
“This was a match I was looking forward to,” he said of the Ducks’ 25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22 victory. “We were both healthy, we are both at full strength, and we’re both really good. For our confidence, this win should do wonders for our team, because that (Utah) was a really good team that played well. And we played better.”
Jolie Rasmussen – one of the newly healthy players sat next to Ulmer in the post game press conference and Ulmer was quick to point to her stat line as a factor in the Ducks’ win. A team leading 15 kills and 12 digs gave evidence of her contributions both offensively and defensively.
As a team Oregon out hit the Utes .287 to .241 with Ronika Stone (11) and Taylor Agost (10) joining Rasmussen with double digit kills.
Oregon jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead in set one and never let Utah get closer than four points at 22-18 before closing out the set with three straight points.
Set two was a different matter. Utah took the lead 4-3, fought off a Duck rally at 12-12 with a six to two run, sending the teams into the break deadlocked at a set apiece.
The third set and the match turned Oregon’s way with 9-3 run, turning a 14-all tie into 23-17 advantage. The Ducks had to weather five straight Utah points that closed the gap to 24-23 but coming out of a time out the Oregon attack set up outside hitter Ronika Stone for set point and the 2-1 lead.
Seizing the momentum, Oregon pushed a 11-9 lead to a 19-12 advantage with Rasmussen, Willow Johnson and Stone putting the ball on the floor.
The Utes’ last gasp ended with Stone – again coming out of a time out – taking Maggie Scott’s assist off the right side and hammering home the game winner.
The win was the the fourth straight for the 15th-ranked Ducks and improves their season record to 14-5 overall, 7-4 in Pac-12 play. Utah fell to 17-5, 8-3. Next up, Oregon hosts Colorado on Friday October 27th beginning at 7:00 pm.