by Steve Mims
EUGENE, OREGON — Here is a recap of the most recent Oregon Athletics.
Two days after a dramatic five-set victory over Nebraska, Oregon’s volleyball season ended with another marathon match.
Fourth-ranked Louisville outlasted No. 9 Oregon 25-23, 23-25, 13-25, 27-25, 15-6 in an NCAA quarterfinal game Saturday in Louisville, Ky. The Ducks fell just short of a trip to the Final Four and finished the season at 26-6.
“I just told my teammates that I would rather lose in the Elite Eight with them than play in the Final Four with any other team,” Oregon senior Brooke Nuneviller said. “This group is so special, and I’ve cherished every single moment I’ve had with his team. Truthfully, I think Louisville and us are pretty neck-and-neck. We had a chance to win that match, and that’s what it makes it hurt that much more.”
Oregon had match point at 24-23 in the fourth set, but Louisville rallied to win that one and then finished the Ducks off in the fifth.
“Whenever you’re on the road in this type of environment, you gotta win the close ones,” UO coach Matt Ulmer said. “If my experience tells me anything, it’s that. We lost the first one by two, and we lost the fourth one by two. We’re in the third set and we’re really rolling, and all I’m thinking is, dang, that first set that got away from us.”
Freshman Mimi Colyer had 17 kills and four blocks while Nuneviller added 15 kills. Morgan Lewis had 13 kills and one block while Karson Bacon had 10 kills and seven blocks.
Oregon went 17-3 to place second in the Pac-12 Conference, its best conference mark in school history. The Ducks set a school record with 16 straight wins before the loss to Louisville.
The Ducks should be loaded up for another run at the conference title next year as Nuneviller and Gloria Mutiri are the only seniors on the roster.
Will Richardson became the first Duck to have a triple double since Luke Jackson in Oregon’s 78-65 win over Nevada Saturday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Oregon senior had 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Ducks improved to 5-5. Richardson was 7-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-7 on 3-pointers.
Richardson joined Jackson and Ronnie Lee as the only players in school history with a triple double. Jackson had two, including the last one on Dec. 20, 2022.
“It’s just a blessing,” Richardson said. “I’ve never played on a team that cared so much about somebody else. I needed one rebound and the whole team is trying to ‘tip the ball to Will, tip the ball to Will,’ it just feels good. I’m trying to be a leader and my team is rocking with me until the end. So it’s exciting.”
Quincy Guerrier led the Ducks with 26 points and nine rebounds while N’Faly Dante had 11 points.
The Ducks host UC Riverside on Wednesday.
Endyia Rogers had 34 points, nine rebounds, and six assists as 16th-ranked Oregon opened Pac-12 play with a 75-67 win over Oregon State Sunday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Beavers took a 60-53 lead on a 3-pointer by Talia von Oelhoffen with 5:30 left to play, but Rogers followed with Oregon’s next five points and added a 3-pointer to put the Ducks ahead 63-62 with 2:45 to play. Oregon finished the game on a 22-7 run to improve to 7-1 overall.
“What a great game tonight,” UO coach Kelly Graves said. “The crowd was amazing. They were treated to a well-played game by both teams, back and forth, high level. A Pac-12 game on December 11; you don’t really see that, but it looked like a late February game (between) two teams that are looking to not only get into the NCAA Tournament but up their seed. Just a really great game.”
Rogers made 6-of-10 3-pointers and all eight free throw attempts to set a career high in scoring.
“She was phenomenal tonight,” Graves said. “And she did it when we needed it most. Just really proud of her. (And) it wasn’t just her scoring. That’s the Endyia that we thought we were gonna get; we’ve seen it from time to time, but tonight we saw it in all its glory.”
Te-Hina Paopao had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists while Grace VanSlooten added 10 points for the Ducks, who face Eastern Washington at MKA on Thursday.
Jelena Mitrovic had 13 points and 11 rebounds to pace OSU while von Oelhoffen scored 12 points as OSU fell to 6-3.
Steve Mims has spent 25 years as a sportswriter, including 21 years at The Register-Guard. He covered University of Oregon athletics from 2013-2020. He works in Eugene as a registered representative and insurance agent at PBC Insurance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.