Not this time, Utah.
Not with Oregon at full strength for the rematch with the Utes, who handled the short-handed Ducks last month in Salt Lake City in four sets.
Oregon had to finish that match with only six available players, due to injuries and suspensions. On Thursday night in front of 1,224 at Matthew Knight Arena, the Ducks got wide-spread contributions from the nine players who got on the court in a 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 sweep of the Utes.
“That was a really memorable experience but I think I’d rather have this stable lineup,” UO coach Matt Ulmer said of looking back to Oregon’s performance at Utah. “I think we did a lot of really nice things ... I thought we played a pretty steady match.”
There were only four total lead changes in the match as once the Ducks got into the lead, they held it.
“With this lineup we don’t really have any holes,” Ulmer said. “We all need to stay healthy, we’re in the home stretch here.
“I like where we’re at.”
The 16th-ranked Ducks (18-9 overall, 11-6 Pac-12) remain in the battle for second place in the conference, with USC at 11-5, Washington State at 10-6 and Washington hanging close at 9-7.
The Ducks play host to Colorado on Friday night to complete their home schedule in the regular season. Oregon’s final two matches are next Wednesday at Washington and Nov. 24 at Oregon State.
“I would love to see a great crowd Friday night,” Ulmer said. “I know they’re going to be out in force to help this team. I can’t wait to see how they support us.
“The biggest thing is I want us playing our best ball of the year.”
In avenging that earlier loss to Utah (15-13, 7-10), the Ducks got contributions from most of the lineup. Lindsey Vander Weide had a team-high 12 kills while hitting .370. Taylor Borup added nine kills and had 11 digs. August Raskie finished with 39 assists and added six kills and seven digs.
Ulmer noted Borup continues to play despite an ailing ankle that could require surgery at the end of the season.
“I think her attitude is all into the team,” Ulmer said. “She makes everybody around her better.”
The Ducks trailed for much of the first set until scoring four consecutive points to knot the score at 19-19. The last deadlock was at 21-all before the Ducks scored the next three points, including two kills by Borup, and then traded points to end the set. Borup had six kills in the set as the Ducks hit a robust .485.
Oregon scored the first four points of the second set and Utah’s only lead was at 16-15 after scoring five consecutive points. The Ducks answered with a 6-1 run and after the Utes drew within 22-21, Oregon scored the final three points on kills by Borup, Vander Weide and Sumeet Gill.
Oregon also led much of the third set, and went on a 7-3 spurt to take control at 23-18. It was the 12th sweep of the season for the Ducks.
Those strong finishes to each set were also noted by Ulmer, who said “we’re a pretty (experienced) group. If there’s ever a time we should feel confident going for the key points, it’s now.
“We have a really confident group and we’re startng to click.”