In a matchup of two of the nation’s top offenses, Oregon’s proved to be the better balanced unit as the fifth-seeded Ducks knocked off No. 12 seed BYU 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 25-12 in the third round of the NCAA volleyball tournament at CenturyLink Center.
The Ducks, who entered the match with an NCAA-best 15.94 kills per set, got a season-high 26 kills from Liz Brenner and 17 from Alaina Bergsma. Ariana Williams had 13 kills and Katherine Fischer added 12.
Oregon stymied the Cougars’ offense, which went into the match second in the NCAA in hitting percentage at .313.
Jennifer Hamson, a 6-foot-7 outside hitter who led BYU with 4.07 kills per set, finished with 18 kills, but the Cougars weren’t able to muster much offense outside of Hamson.
Despite the win, Oregon spent much of the match playing from behind.
Ducks coach Jim Moore said his team battled to keep its emotions in check and fell behind in each of the first three sets as a result. Oregon closed the first two sets with runs of 10-5 and 9-4 to overcome deficits.
“We had a pretty tough time all day controlling our emotions,” Moore said. “I figured once they started playing, they were gonna be OK, but it took us a little while in Game 1.”
BYU led 18-15 in the first set and was seemingly in control, but the Ducks were able to pull it out with the help of some timely service aces by Fischer and Lauren Plum.
The Cougars outhit the Ducks .500-.405 in the set.
Plum, who entered the match leading Oregon with 13.5 assists per set, had 20 in the first set.
She registered all 68 of the Ducks’ assists on the day.
BYU coach Shawn Olmstead credited Oregon’s serve and speed with nabbing the first set and setting the tone for the match.
“They got us definitely out of system, out of our style of play,” Olmstead said. “Those moments where they got us out of whack kind of hurt us in the end. You’re not able to attack when you can’t pass the ball.”
Bergsma and Brenner each had six kills in the second set. Oregon trailed the set 17-16 before outscoring the Cougars 9-4 to go up 2-0.
The Ducks fell behind again in the third set. BYU led 18-12 when Oregon put together a 9-4 run to make it 22-21. But the Cougars were able to hang on down the stretch, and Hamson sealed it with her 17th kill.
The Ducks never trailed in the final set, opening a 9-2 lead and cruising from there to set up a regional final against No. 4 seed Nebraska Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
BYU (28-4) ................. 23 21 25 12
Oregon (28-4) ................. 25 25 22 25
BYU (kills-aces-blocks): Heather Hannemann 0-0-1, Kathryn LeCheminant 7-0-1, Alexa Gray 8-0-3, Jessica Jardine 5-1-0, Nicole Warner 7-0-7, Jennifer Hamson 18-0-4, Kimberly Dahl 5-0-0, Clara Parker 0-1-0, Tia Withers 0-1-0.
UO: Alaina Bergsma 17-0-3, Lauren Plum 1-1-1, Canace Finley 4-0-3, Liz Brenner 26-1-1, Ariana Williams 13-0-4, Katherine Fischer 12-1-0, Kellie Kawasaki 0-1-0, Haley Jacob 0-2-0, Maddie Magee 0-0-0, Shellsy Ashen 0-0-0.
Set assists: BYU 47 (Hannemann 42, Parker 3, Gray 1, Withers 1), UO 68 (Plum 68).
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