Duck volleyball beats Gauchos in home opener

Duck volleyball beats Gauchos in home opener

EUGENE - The No. 13 University of Oregon volleyball team (7-0) opened its home slate with a 3-1 win over UC Santa Barbara (5-3) Wednesday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

Thanks to another balanced offensive effort, Oregon posted its first-ever win in the thee-match series by a 25-17, 25-20, 18-25, 25-16 score.

Duck sophomore outside hitter Liz Brenner tied her season high in kills (15) and hit .290 for the match, while her seven digs was two off her season high. The Portland, Ore., native wrapped up an impressive all-around effort with a career-high five blocks.

"We were really excited to be back at home," Brenner said, "and played hard for our fans. We've been on the road for a while, so it was nice to see some familiar faces. There were times we didn't playing great tonight, but we didn't panic and worked together to try and get it going again."

UO featured a trio with +10 kills for the fourth time this year, thanks to the efforts of senior outside hitters Alaina Bergsma (14 kills, .310) and Katherine Fischer (11 kills, 8 digs).

All-Pac-12 setter and junior Lauren Plum notched her first double-double of the season and 20th career-wise, thanks to her 46 assists and 12 digs.

Bergsma and Plum also topped the team at the service line with two aces each - their fifth and first, multi-ace matches of the campaign.

Team-wise on defense, UO notched a team season high in blocks (10), and was led in the category by Brenner. The middle blocker duo of junior Ariana Williams and freshman Clelia DeFelice added three each.

Anchoring the passing attack, senior libero Haley Jacob topped the team in digs (13) for the fourth time this season.

Team-wise, the Ducks owned advantages in hitting (.246-.135), kills (57-39), assists (54-34), blocks (10.0-7.0), digs (57-39) and aces (4-2).

UCSB category leaders included Leah Sully (11 kills, 12 digs), Katey Tompson (11 kills, 1 ace, 4 blocks, 14 points), Britton Taylor (4 blocks), Kara Sherrard (1 ace) and Ali Santi (29 assists).

The two teams had met only twice before, almost 30 years ago, with UCSB winning in 1982 (2-0) and 1983 (2-0).

"We won, but I wasn't that happy with how we played," Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. "We weren't as consistent as we needed to be - we started off good, but didn't sustain it. Especially in the third set, we didn't pass well and hit six balls out of bounds - those things need to change."

Looking ahead, UO remains at home to host St. Mary's (4-2) next Monday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m.