EUGENE – The #5-seeded University of Oregon volleyball team (26-4) cruised to a 3-0 win over Northern Colorado (24-11) Friday night in its first home NCAA volleyball action since 1986 (and third tourney ever).
In NCAA First Round play, UO posted a 25-14, 25-19, 25-18 decision at Matthew Knight Arena to raise its postseason record under head coach Jim Moore to 6-5. For comparison’s sake, UO owned a 1-5 ledger in its four other trips since the first tourney in 1981 (1984, ’86, ’87, ’89).
"We came out with good energy in the first set," Oregon head coach Jim Moore said, "and started the second set good, too, but then relaxed later. We need to be disciplined to do it every single point. We need to be better at it. We knew that Northern Colorado would be a little unorthordox, but we were prepared for that."
Pac-12 Player of the Year and senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma led UO in kills (15), and her .483 hitting mark was her ninth +.400 of the season.
Junior middle blocker Ariana Williams topped the team in hitting (.500) for the 14th time this season and logged her seventh +.500 tally of the campaign. The All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention also led the team in blocks (4) for the 12th time in '12.
Also on defense, freshman middle blocker Canace Finley added six kills and .444, and added three blocks.
Senior libero Haley Jacob added 10 digs – her 27th double-digit total of the season, and added an ace.
Senior defensive specialist Kellie Kawasaki added six digs, and her three aces was a season high (and one shy of last year’s career best in the win over then-No. 1 UCLA).
Pac-12 setter of the year and junior Lauren Plum posted 40 assists and five digs, and guided the team to a .318 hitting mark – the team’s +15 .300 total of the campaign.
For comparison’s sake, UNC hit only .107 – the 20th Duck foe to hit .200 or less this season.
For the Big Sky tourney champion UNC, category leaders included Kelley Arnold (11 kills, .257, 1 ace, 12 points), Marissa Hughes (18 assists), Tambre Haddock (1 ace, 13 digs, 2 blocks) and Andrea Spaustat (2 blocks).
Looking ahead to Saturday night, the Ducks will face Dayton (26-7, 14-1) who came back from an 0-2 deficit vs. Pepperdine (20-12) Friday evening to win 3-2.
The winner of Saturday’s contest will to the four-team Third Round in the Omaha Regional on Friday, December 7, and the Regional Final follows the next day (Sat., 12/8).
A week later the NCAA Semifinals will be held in Louisville, Thursday, December 13 at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. PT, and the 32nd NCAA championship match follows two days later on Saturday, December 15 at 4 p.m. PT. All from the NCAA Regional, Semifinal and Final will be televised live by ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.