The Ducks came away with another impressive straight set victory over the Dayton Flyers tonight, advancing to round of 16 in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Strong offensive production was the key for the Ducks tonight as they continue their pursuit for an NCAA title.
By knocking off the Flyers, Oregon not only advanced to the Sweet 16 but also put an end to Dayton’s 19-game winning streak as well. Alaina Bergsma led the team with 16 kills with Liz Brenner following closely behind her with 13 of her own.
In the first set, the Ducks came out firing on all cylinders as they jumped out to an early 4-0 lead over Dayton, thanks to three straight points from Bergsma. With heavy production coming from Brenner, who led the Ducks in kills after the first set with seven kills, the Ducks never managed to lose their lead as they went on to win the set 25-15.
“First couple swings, I went ‘oh-oh’ because when Liz gets it right directly over her right shoulder, that’s when she can bring it, and no one likes playing defense when she can do that,” said head coach Jim Moore. “I knew right away that she was going to have a great game.”
Turning point. Dayton did pull to within one point of the Ducks late in the set at 21-20, but with great play from Ariana Williams, Kat Fischer and especially Canace Finley down the stretch, the Ducks ended up pulling away to grab the set. Finley proved to be too much for the Flyers in the end as she ended the set with three consecutive points as she gave the Ducks the set and commanding 2-0 lead heading into the third and final set.
Moore was pleased with Finley tonight. He expects her to be a “great player” moving forward.
“Canace, holy cow,” Moore said. “I’m thrilled with Canace.”
On the horizon. The Ducks will return to practice on Monday and then pack their bags for Omaha to take on BYU in the Sweet 16 on Friday, Dec. 7. The Cougars defeated Oklahoma in straight sets earlier in the evening to punch their ticket to Omaha.
Bergsma and Brenner will are expected to carry a lot of the Duck’s offensive load moving forward, but with back-to-back straight set victories, the Ducks will have a lot of confidence and momentum riding on their side as they try and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Coach Moore and his players looked to be in an especially good mood as they sat in the press room after their win over the Dayton Flyers. Moore was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I thought they were awesome in terms of just anticipating the ball,” Moore said. “There were some plays in the first four points where I knew it would be a bad night for Dayton because in the first four points all four of those balls could have landed and not one of them landed. … All I ask of them is to play hard, and they played hard.”