Minnesota left the door open and the Oregon Ducks came charging through to dethrone the number one ranked volleyball team in the nation. The 3-1 victory took place in Stanford, CA as part of the Pac-12/Big10 challenge. Minnesota entered the contest looking to prove themselves, with Oregon being their first Top 25 matchup of the season. Minnesota was promoted to the #1 spot after Stanford was upset, but their promotion was based on preseason hype as they remained untested through their first five matches. Oregon (#18) entered on a six-game losing streak to top 15 opponents, dating back to last November. The stage was set, the Ducks were certainly not expected to win but Minnesota had its own question marks.

Oregon launched out of the gates with energy and crafty playmaking to stun Minnesota, jumping out to a 10-6 lead. They maintained the lead with creativity and aggression. Nearly half of Minnesota’s points came on errors by Oregon, but the ferocious attack kept Oregon in control all set. Minnesota woke up and tied the game at 22 and 23. Oregon broke free to take a narrow first set victory 25-23.

The Gophers ripped into the second set with a 4-0 lead. Oregon regained with timeout down 10-5. Oregon clawed back and managed to tie the set at 22-22. The Ducks ripped off three clutch points to steal the second set 25-22.

The third set saw neither team lay off the relentless back and forth. Oregon slipped ahead 14-10 and Minnesota rallied to tie it at 14-14. The two teams traded back and forth for the next fourteen points, 21-21. Minnesota rolled off three points to get a comfy 24-21 lead. Oregon once again dug deep to score three points in a row, tieing it at 24. Lauren Page’s kill sent it to match point. On the verge of an incredible 3-0 sweep, a Van Der Weide service error and consecutive attack errors for Oregon gave Minnesota the 27-25 set three win.

The beast inside Minnesota kept the momentum rolling for five straight points, the highest streak of the night, to open set four. Oregon once again flashed championship composure and adapted to tie the set at 16-16. Three kills by Willow Johnson landed Oregon once against at match point 24-22. A clutch kill by Ronika Stone capped off a career game for Stone and a surreal upset for Oregon, 25-23.

The gutsy Oregon performance can be summarized by the motivational quote “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.” The Ducks improvised frequently with dinks and finesse. The mixed gameplan opened the door for a blistering attack by Ronika Stone and Lauren Page. When Minnesota started to build leads, rather than losing ground, Oregon adapted beautifully to overcome early deficits in two sets, battling with seventy-six of their one-hundred points coming in strings of one or two at a time. Oregon overcame the number one ranked team with tremendous poise at the end of sets, winning six out of eight set points.

Ronika Stone had one of the best nights of her career with nineteen kills, five digs, and three blocks on a disgusting .615 hitting percentage. Volleyball hitting percentages usually float around the .300 mark but when Stone attacked, she was 19 for 26. Lauren Page had a breakout night with sixteen kills. Willow Johnson and Lindsey Van Der Weide continued to hit well, combining for thirty kills. Feeding the offense, August Raskie continued to amaze with sixty-six assists. Brooke Nuneviller recorded twenty-eight digs and is proving herself as a reliable starter and sparkplug in just her seventh game at the NCAA level. Brooke Van Sickle played sparingly but provided more evidence that she’s dangerous with three aces. Sumeet Gill torched her Pac-12 best hitting percentage with an ugly .063 tonight but the Stone/Page combination locked down the middle anyway.

Oregon volleyball played like a top ten team in the nation for the first time in a while, they play #5 Penn State next. Penn State seeks redemption for themselves and the conference after being swept by Stanford. Oregon wants to cement themselves as Pac-12 title contenders. Even with a loss to Penn State, the Ducks will likely join the top fifteen in the next NCAA coaches poll, but they join four other Pac-12 powerhouses (Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington). Is Oregon’s monster offense here to stay, or did the stars align for one night only? We saw an entirely different squad on Friday with career games from Stone and Page against a top-five opponent no less. Have they broken through the ceiling, or will they return to earth?

Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.

For quality up-to-date sports reporting, visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Author Details
I am a second year University of Oregon student passionate about all of Oregon’s teams. I spend most of my free time watching movies and playing video games. Having played Football, Basketball, Soccer, and Baseball as a child I’ve cultivated a passion for the beautiful world of sports. I’ve recently fallen in love with the esports industry. My passion for video games and sports combine in the realm of professional video gaming. My life revolves around working towards a dream job in esports, making the most of my college experience, and taking time to bring joy to the world around me. Writing this bio was actually rather challenging but I’m sure writing about the Oregon Ducks will come smoother and I’m excited to share my work with this lovely audience.
×
I am a second year University of Oregon student passionate about all of Oregon’s teams. I spend most of my free time watching movies and playing video games. Having played Football, Basketball, Soccer, and Baseball as a child I’ve cultivated a passion for the beautiful world of sports. I’ve recently fallen in love with the esports industry. My passion for video games and sports combine in the realm of professional video gaming. My life revolves around working towards a dream job in esports, making the most of my college experience, and taking time to bring joy to the world around me. Writing this bio was actually rather challenging but I’m sure writing about the Oregon Ducks will come smoother and I’m excited to share my work with this lovely audience.
Latest Posts

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.