OSU volleyball: Ducks have upper hand in season's 1st meeting between rivals

2013-09-25T22:30:00Z 2013-09-25T22:49:39Z OSU volleyball: Ducks have upper hand in season's 1st meeting between rivalsBy JESSE SOWA, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
September 25, 2013 10:30 pm  • 

Fast starts couldn’t be sustained and many parts of the game were somewhere between OK and good.

It all added up to Oregon State falling short against an Oregon team that didn’t make many mistakes and took advantage of the Beavers’ errors.

The Ducks erased early deficits in all three sets Wednesday night to sweep the Pac-12 volleyball opener for both teams at Gill Coliseum.

Set scores were 25-17, 25-18, 25-19.

“We’ve worked very hard in starting better,” OSU coach Taras Liskevych said. “All the sets this year, we start late and have comebacks. We started every set really well.”

But it was Oregon (8-3, 1-0 Pac-12) that had an answer every time.

Liskevych pointed to several areas where he thought his team broke down:

Passing, serve reception, serving and overall playing a complete match.

“We’ve got to fight all the way through. We’ve got to play all the little things,” the coach said. “Cover, we’ve got to get the balls on defense. We just stood around too much.”

Oregon hit at a .413 clip to Oregon State’s .173. Liskevych pointed to the sideout percentages, with the Ducks having a 69-50 edge.

The Beavers (9-3, 0-1) put up a strong fight in the third set after dropping the first two.

OSU opened with a 5-2 lead and was able to match the Ducks through most of the set after Oregon came back to take an 8-7 lead.

From there, neither team led by two until late. The set was tied 14 times, the last at 19-all as OSU’s Amanda Brown and Tayla Woods combined on a block.

Oregon’s Ariana Williams, who had a big third set, came back with two straight kills to help the Ducks take the momentum for good.

The Beavers couldn’t swing it back, and Oregon scored six in a row to finish the match.

“We were OK at times. We did everything good and everything right at times, it just wasn’t consistent throughout the entire match and that was kind of our downfall,” said Beavers libero Becky Defoe, last week’s Pac-12 defensive player of the week.

“We know we’re capable of it, so it was good to see that.”

Oregon State took leads of 3-0 and 6-2 in the first set but couldn’t hold the momentum.

Oregon steadily closed the gap and took the lead, later going on a 9-1 run to go ahead 24-14. The Beavers mustered three straight points before Oregon’s Canace Finley finished the set with a kill.

OSU again started strong in the second, taking a 6-2 lead on Lila Toner’s third kill of the set.

The Beavers still led 9-6 before the Ducks turned the tide with five straight points. OSU bounced back to tie it at 12 and 13 before Oregon took the lead for good at 14-13.

The Ducks answered every point by the Beavers with at least two of their own for the remainder of the set to pull away.

Toner led Oregon State in kills with 10 and added five digs.

Brown and Laura Schaudt had six kills apiece. Defoe finished with 11 digs, while Woods had five digs and 31 assists.

Liz Brenner led Oregon with 15 kills and eight digs.

Williams added 11 kills and three block assists. Finley, prominent in the first two sets, had nine kills and six block assists.

Passing was the first item on Liskevych’s mind when asked about what went wrong for his team.

But Woods, Oregon State’s setter, wasn’t ready to lay it all on the back row.

“It’s easy to point at different things,” she said. “I could have been a better setter and the hitters could have put it down better. Our team has to find a way to get better for the next one as a team.”

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