Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts

Monday, October 13, 2014

College | On Kaleigh Nelson’s last Oregon trip, Washington volleyball beats the Ducks
A turning point after a time out keeps the Huskies undefeated
  • #3 Washington def. #11 Oregon 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16)

Washington's Krista Vansant attacks past the Oregon block attempt in the Huskies' 3-1 victory Sunday morning
-photo courtesy Shutter Geeks Photography

EUGENE—Kaleigh Nelson awoke early Sunday just as she had so many other times in her life: in Oregon. Washington’s senior All-American went to high school near Salem, and with each return to her home state, there was always a contingent of family and friends in the stands. After four seasons—each more productive than the last—this would be her final college match in Oregon.

“I didn’t really think about it,” she said. “We had a lot of work to do, and I can’t really pay attention to what’s out there in the stands.”

When Nelson was growing up, the Ducks played in historic Mac Court. When the Huskies came to town, the arena’s wooden bleachers pounded like a thousand drums under the weight of sold-out crowds.
Washington players celebrate a point against Oregon
-photo courtesy Shutter Geeks Photography

But Oregon’s new home, Matt Court, with its sleek NBA-style exterior and subdued, cushioned interior, drew a Sunday morning crowd of just 1,631—a shame considering Washington came in undefeated, and Oregon’s only loss was to #1 Stanford.

Nelson and her Washington teammates played the first set like they had just barely rolled out of bed. There was little spark, and a ton of unforced errors, leading to a 25-21 Oregon win.

The Huskies roared back in the second set, however, as Washington’s hitters took better approaches in transition, and hit the ball with more authority. “We cleaned it up and quit making errors,” said Nelson. “We passed a lot better and were more on our assignments.”

The Huskies continue to roll early in the third, until the Ducks went on a tear. An 8-2 Oregon run forced Coach Jim McLaughlin to call a timeout. “I told them they had to have mental intensity,” he said. “If you lose it, it’s hard to get it back. You can’t let up ever up in this game.”

It proved to be the turning point. From the back row, Krista Vansant blasted a kill past the Oregon block. After a Tia Scambray ace, Vansant stuffed an Oregon attack, then followed with a cross-court kill to the very deepest corner of the court. The Ducks shook their heads, and Coach Jim Moore called a timeout.

But the damage had been done. Washington’s servers continued to keep Oregon out of system, allowing UW’s blockers to roof the Ducks time and time again. For the match, Washington outblocked Oregon 20-6. Lianna Sybeldon—the nation’s leading blocker—added another 11 block assists to her season total.

The Ducks, cowed by all the blocks, tried to tip their way to kills. But Huskies defenders were there time and again, picking up 57 digs for the match. “Once you have a good block,” said McLaughlin, “It’s human nature, you don’t want to get blocked and you start tipping. We knew it was coming.”

Late in the fourth set, with the Huskies firmly in control, the two teams had two stellar rallies, among the longest Washington has been part of this season. Both teams played furious defense, digging hard attacks, and flying far and wide to keep the ball in play. At one point, UW libero Cassie Strickland launched herself like a fullback leaping over an offensive line for a goal-line touchdown. In both rallies, Washington won the point.

McLaughlin smiled when asked about those two points. “Mike Normand, one of my mentors, always taught us that great teams win the long rallies. That’s something I’ve been preaching since I’ve been coaching.”

Nelson, too, grinned at the memory of those two long points. If she had been all business before the match, there was a hint of tears in her eyes once it was over. “Final college match here, in front of my loved ones. It was kinda cool.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NCAA | Volleyball tournament’s best first-round matchup could be in Seattle

Sure, Washington plays Alabama State. But before that, Michigan vs. LSU looks plenty interesting
  • next: Michigan vs. LSU | December 6 | 5PM | Alaska Airlines Arena
  • Alabama State @ #3 Washington | December 6 | 7PM

Thursday, December 20, 2012

NCAA | What we learned from the 2012 Final Four

Lessons from Louisville for next year’s host: Seattle

We’re back from 12 days in the Midwest, soaking up Sweet 16/Elite 8 volleyball in Omaha, the Final Four in Louisville, with a few days in Chicago in between. Here’s what we learned:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NCAA | Is Omaha the toughest regional?

Four seeded teams remain; none have lost to a non-tournament team

Of the 16 teams still in the hunt, 12 earned seeds from the NCAA Tournament Committee. The only region where all four seeded teams survived was Omaha:


(1) Penn St vs. (16) Kentucky

(3) Texas vs. (14) Florida
Purdue vs. (8) Minnesota

Wichita St vs. (6) Southern Cal


(5) Oregon vs. (12) BYU

Michigan St vs. Michigan
(13) Washington vs. (4) Nebraska

(15) Iowa St vs. (2) Stanford

Monday, November 26, 2012

NCAA | Filling out your tournament bracket

Figuring out which four teams will be in Louisville

Why should basketball fans have all the fun?

Let hoop heads have their March Madness. This is the season for a little December Delirium.

Feel guilty each spring when you waste time filling out those basketball brackets? We officially absolve any guilt if you waste time filling out your volleyball bracket right now!

The NCAA and Northwestern Mutual are sponsoring a bracket contest with a modest prize--$500 worth of t-shirts, hats and other college-logo goodies. It’s not a new car, but think how good you’ll look dressed head-to-toe in your school colors!

[Note: as with most Facebook-based promotions these days, the contest requires you to “LIKE” the Northwestern Mutual Insurance Facebook page to enter.]

Alright, time to fill in the blanks. Here’s how we see it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

VIDEO | Jim McLaughlin talks about fighting through adversity.

QUICK SET with Coach Jim McLaughlin for the week of November 19, 2012

Washington outside hitters Cassie Strickland and Gabbi Parker
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann
The more you know about the how and why of volleyball, the more fun it is to watch and play.

This week, fifth-ranked Washington conquered Oregon in one of the all-time classic matches of the Jim McLaughlin era.

Coach McLaughlin says he learned a lot about his team as it fought off 13 match points to beat the Ducks in five sets.

“I think it’s a huge lesson,” says McLaughlin on this week’s edition of Quick Set. “Just to be able to handle the situation and the magnitude of the situation. And to overcome the adversity, we learned a lot about our team.”

Also this week:
  • How the Huskies responded to the injury to their star player
  • The emergence of hitter Gabbi Parker

See also:

WRITTEN BY Jack Hamann | PHOTOS BY Leslie Hamann

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