Lindsey Vander Weide had one more set guaranteed in her Oregon career.
“I hate fifth sets, quick sets,” the Oregon senior said. “But after we lost that fourth set we were saying ‘OK, we are not losing another one. Absolutely not.'”
Oregon never trailed in the final set, but Baylor closed within 14-13 before Ronika Stone got a kill to finish off a 25-18, 13-25, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13 win for the 15th-seeded Ducks in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night in front of 2,508 at Matthew Knight Arena.
“It came down to the pass and set and luckily I was the one to put it away,” Stone said. “I had so many emotions. It was the greatest feeling ever.”
Vander Weide had 21 kills to send the Ducks into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014, the year before she arrived on campus.
“It’s awesome, I’m probably not going to sleep for a while tonight,” Vander Weide said. “I’m really excited to get a chance to keep playing.”
The Ducks (22-10) will go on the road next week for the regional semifinal to play either second-seeded Minnesota or South Carolina, who face off Saturday.
“So proud of my team right now to get to go to the Sweet 16 and keep playing,” UO coach Matt Ulmer said. “For Lindsey’s group, this is the first time they got past the first weekend so I am thrilled to be able to win at home. … We made plays at the end. Baylor played great, we fought back and forth the whole time.”
Oregon scored the first two points of the final set and stretched the margin to 11-5 following an attack error by the Bears. Baylor closed within 13-11 on a kill by Yossiana Pressley, but Stone followed with a kill for the Ducks.
Gia Milana had a kill for Baylor and Fanning followed with a block to cut Oregon’s lead to 14-13 before Stone ended the match.
“I think we stuck with our game plan the whole way through, it was a matter of us executing or not,” Ulmer said. “We finally got their attention in the fifth set.”
Stone had 11 kills and six digs while August Raskie finished with 45 assists. Freshman Brooke Nuneviller had a team-high 14 digs, followed by Vander Weide and Raskie with 12 and 10, respectively.
Vander Weide had five kills and Stone added four in the first set while Raskie had 12 assists. Willow Johnson had a kill to put the Ducks up 2-1 and Oregon never trailed again in the set.
The Ducks scored five straight points, including kills from Lauren Page and Taylor Borup, to take a 15-5 lead. After Baylor closed within 21-14, Vander Weide had a kill before Borup had a pair of kills to end the set.
“The Ducks played real hard from the start and punched us in the face in the first set,” Baylor coach Ryan McGuyre said. “We were able to go back and turn it into an epic five-set battle. I think multiple times in each set there were points that could have turned the tide. They made great touches at the end to finish it and we didn’t.”
Baylor led 7-6 in the second set before scoring 11 of the next 13 points to pull away for a 18-8 lead.
Oregon had a 7-6 lead in the third set before rolling off four straight points, including kills from Johnson and Page. The Bears closed within 20-16 before Page got a kill to start a run of three straight points for Oregon.
The Ducks led 19-15 in the fourth set and were ahead 20-17 before Baylor scored four straight points to take the lead. After Johnson got a kill to tie it 21-21, Baylor scored the next three points and won on a kill from Pressley.