NCAA Football

Notes: Ducks Stay Home to Host Nike Classic

September 5, 2017

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EUGENE, Ore. – The 14th-ranked Oregon volleyball team remains in Eugene this weekend to host its second four-team, three-day tournament in as many weeks. Coming off three wins in three days last weekend to win the Oregon Classic, The Ducks will welcome Cal Poly, No. 23 Wichita State and Duquesne to Matthew Knight Arena this weekend for the Nike Classic to wrap up its non-conference schedule. 

NIKE CLASSIC SCHEDULE
Thu., Sept. 7, 6 p.m. – No. 14 Oregon vs. Cal Poly
Fri., Sept. 8, 11 a.m. – Duquesne vs. No. 23 Wichita State
Fri., Sept. 8, 6 p.m. – Cal Poly vs. Duquesne
Fri., Sept. 8, 8 p.m. – No. 14 Oregon vs. No. 23 Wichita State
Sat., Sept. 9, 2 p.m. – Wichita State vs. Cal Poly
Sat., Sept. 9, 7 p.m. – No. 14 Oregon vs. Duquesne

HOW TO FOLLOW
Thursday’s opening match of the Nike Classic against Cal Poly will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Oregon, with Anne Marie Anderson (pxp) and ANALYST (analyst) on the call. Oregon’s matches against Wichita State and Duquesne will be streamed live at GoDucks.com/live, with KWVA Radio’s Matt Tyra on the call (88.1 FM). Live stats for all six matches can be found at oregon.statbroadcast.com, and live updates will be provided during matches on Twitter via @OregonVB.

SPECTATOR INFO
For Saturday’s 7 p.m. match against Duquesne, fans coming from the Oregon vs. Nebraska football game at Autzen Stadium can use their football ticket to get into the volleyball match for free. For fans interested in attending the entirety of the Nike Classic, ticket packages for the weekend can be purchased here

ABOUT CAL POLY
The Mustangs got the 2017 off to a great start with five straight sweeps before falling in straight sets to No. 8 Washington last weekend in Seattle. Cal Poly features a dynamic duo on the offensive end in sisters Torrey and Adlee Van Winden, with Torrey Van Winden averaging 4.72 kills per set on .352 hitting and Adlee Van Winden tallying 4.50 kills per set at a .299 clip. The Mustangs are hitting .306 as a team.

ABOUT NO. 23 WICHITA STATE
Set to face the Ducks for the first time since 1993, the Shockers bring a 6-0 record and a No. 23 national ranking to MKA. Wichita State beat IUPUI, Marquette and Miami (Ohio) last weekend, and is led by Tabitha Brown’s 4.33 kills per set. The Shockers swept each of their first four matches of the season, and are coming off a four-set win over the Ducks’ first-round NCAA Tournament opponent last year, Miami (Ohio).

ABOUT DUQUESNE
The Dukes picked up wins over Coppin State, Canisius and Robert Morris last weekend at the Duquesne Invitational, and come to Eugene to face the Ducks for the first time in program history. Duquesne has five players with more than 1.40 kills per set, but have struggled with efficiency with a team hitting percentage under .225. The Dukes went 18-12 in 2016. 

LAST WEEKEND: DUCKS SWEEP OREGON CLASSIC
The 14th-ranked Ducks opened their 2017 home schedule with a three-match sweep of the Oregon Classic at Matthew Knight Arena, defeating Texas-Rio Grande Valley and Northern Illinois in straight sets and Loyola Marymount in a five-set thriler. SO MB Ronika Stone (2.09 k/s, .462, 1.18 b/s, 7 sa) was named the tournament MVP for the second year in a row, while SR S Maggie Scott (6.27 a/s, 1.64 d/s, 3 sa) and JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide (3.73 k/s, .264, 3.36 d/s, 4 sa) earned all-tournament status.

#14 Oregon 3, UTRGV 0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-17)
The Ducks got off to a fast start and played efficient volleyball from start to finish, hitting .337 as a team while holding the Vaqueros to a .160 clip. Oregon once again featured a balanced attack, with eight players recording kills and all 12 Ducks who were available getting onto the court. 

Who Stood Out
JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide – 12 K, 7 D, SA
SR RS Taylor Agost – 9 K, .400, 3 BLK
SO RS Willow Johnson – 7 K, .462, 3 D, 2 BLK
SO MB Ronika Stone – 4 K, .667, 4 SA*, 3 BLK 

#14 Oregon 3, LMU 2 (19-25, 28-26, 24-26, 25-19, 15-8)
The Ducks were sluggish out of the gate and struggled with consistency throughout the night against a solid LMU team, but were able to use big scoring runs and a balanced attack in the final two sets to pull the match out. The Ducks finished with an impressive five players with double-digit kills while hitting .292 as a team.

Who Stood Out
JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide -15 K, .158, 18 D*, SA, 3 BLK
SO MB Ronika Stone -12 K, .304, 8 BLK*
SO RS Willow Johnson – 11 K, .292, 3 BLK
JR MB/OH Lauren Page – 11K, .333, 5 D
SR RS Taylor Agost – 10 K, .346, 7 BLK
JR S August Raskie – 25 A, 10 D
JR MB Sumeet Gill – 5 K, .400, 8 BLK*

#14 Oregon 3, NIU 0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-15)
The Ducks were dominant against the Huskies, pulling away in each of the three sets and hitting a terrific .442 as a team. 

Who Stood Out
JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide – 14 K, .440, 12 D, 2 SA
SO MB Ronika Stone – 7 K, .400*, 2 SA, 2 BLK
SO RS Willow Johnson – 8 K, .571*, 3 D
SR S Maggie Scott – 23 A, 5 D, 2 SA

ULMER ERA BEGINS WITH TOP-FIVE WIN
The Ducks got head coach Matt Ulmer‘s UO career off to a magical start at the VERT Challenge in Gainesville, Fla., upsetting No. 5 Nebraska in four sets for the program’s first win over a top-five team since beating No. 1 Penn State in December 2012. The win also gave UO its first win in the VERT Challenge, now in the third year of the tournament. The Ducks would play then-No. 1 Texas tough the following day, winning the first set before falling in four tightly-played sets. JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide (3.75 k/s, 2.00 d/s, sa) was named to the VERT Challenge all-tournament team. SO OH Brooke Van Sickle was outstanding for Oregon against Nebraska, recording career-highs in digs (22) and aces (3) while adding 11 kills for her first career double-double. Vander Weide (14 kills, 11 digs) and JR S August Raskie (22 assists, 14 digs) also added double-doubles for Oregon, SO RS Willow Johnson had a great night with 13 kills on .387 hitting and JR MB Sumeet Gill led the team with seven blocks. 

DUCKS CRACK TOP 15
Following their exciting opening weekend at the VERT Challenge, the Ducks rose four spots in the AVCA coaches poll to No. 14. It was the first top-15 ranking for the Ducks since September 2015, and higher than any ranking the team earned at any point last season. Oregon remained at No. 14 in this week’s poll after last weekend’s sweep of the Oregon Classic.  

ULMER TAKES OVER OREGON VOLLEYBALL
After serving the last three years as an assistant for the Ducks, including a year as associate head coach in 2016, Matt Ulmer is in his first year as Oregon’s head coach. The seventh head coach in program history, Ulmer has been instrumental in the construction of the Ducks’ current roster, including the recruitment of the No. 2-ranked class in the nation in 2016. With familiar faces all around him and a program that has reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the last six seasons, Ulmer appears poised for success in his first year at the helm of UO volleyball. 

VAN SICKLE DISPLAYS DYNAMIC VERSATILITY
SO OH/L Brooke Van Sickle displayed the dynamic all-around ability that made her a top recruit in the Ducks’ matches against No. 5 Nebraska and No. 1 Texas in Gainesville,Fla.. The native of Battle Ground, Wash., recorded the first two double-doubles of her career, including a career-high 22 digs and three aces with 11 kills in th Ducks’ win over the Cornhuskers. Van Sickle was forced to miss the Oregon Classic with an injury.

FLOCK OF DUCKS RETURN FROM 2016
Oregon fans will not need long to learn the 2017 roster, as 13 players return from last season’s second-round NCAA Tournament team, including 12 letter-winners. Oregon brings back 10 players who appeared in at least 50 sets last season, and return tremendous depth at nearly every position. The Ducks, who led the Pac-12 last serason with 14.35 kills per set and a .275 team hitting percentage, also bring back six players who averaged better than 1.00 kill per set and four who averaged more than 2.00 kills per set, as well as setters Maggie Scott and August Raskie to run the 6-2 offense.

DUCKS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN PAC-12
Following a 21-10 season in which the Ducks went 13-7 in Pac-12 play to place fourth in the conference, Matt Ulmer‘s squad has been picked to to finish third in the Pac-12 this season. In a vote of the conference’s coaches, the Ducks received 93 points to slot in behind Washington (118) and defending national champion Stanford (113). 

THREE NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PAC-12
A trio of Ducks were named to the preseason all-Pac-12 squad, taking up three of the 14 slots. SR RS Taylor Agost, JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide and SO MB Ronika Stone all earned the preseason honor from in a vote of the Pac-12 coaches. Vander Weide has been an all-Pac-12 selection in each of her first two seasons, while Agost and Stone eached earned all-Pac-12 honorable mention honors last year. 

ALL-AMERICAN VANDER WEIDE RETURNS
JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide will once again be a focal point for the Ducks this season, coming off a tremendous 2016 campaign in which she was an AVCA third-team all-American and all-Pac-12 selection. Vander Weide led the Ducks in 2016 with 3.85 points per set, 3.24 kills per set and 37 service aces, and she was second with 2.71 digs per set while serving as a six-rotation player. Vander Weide will be counted on even more in the back row this season with the departure of libero Amanda Benson.

DUCKS TASKED WITH REPLACING BENSON
The Ducks’ defense will be without one of the most accomplished players in Oregon volleyball history this season, as Oregon enters its first season in four years without libero Amanda Benson. Benson, second all-time at Oregon in both digs and digs per set, was able to cover nearly three-quarters of the backcourt for the Ducks, who will go with a replacement-by-committee stratagy this season to make up for the loss of Benson.  SR L Alex Hojnar will open the season as the libero, and SO OH/L Brooke Van Sickle could see time there as well in addtion to on the outside. FR DS  Kyra Hanawahine and SR DS Marine Hall-Poirier provide depth, and JR OH Lindsey Vander Weide will once again be asked to provide consistent passing and defense as a six-rotation player. 

STELLAR SOPHOMORES
The sophomore class of Willow Johnson, Jolie Rasmussen, Ronika Stone and Brooke Van Sickle will play a big role for the Ducks this season after entering in 2016 as the No. 2 class in the nation. Stone was stellar as a sophomore last season in the middle, hitting .374 to place second in UO single-season history. Rasmussen showed flashes of brilliance when healthy with 2.56 kills per set and 1.07 digs per set, and Johnson is a dynamic lefty on the right side. Van Sickle is the most verstatile player the Ducks have, with the ability to play both on the outside and in the back row. 

UP NEXT
The Ducks begin Pac-12 play following the Nike Classic with a Civil War match-up with Oregon State on Sept. 19 in Eugene.  

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