No. 7 Oregon Halts No. 9 UCLA in Five


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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Taking a cue from the location near Tinseltown, the No. 7 Oregon volleyball team relied on a dramatic movie-like storyline to claim its first regular season series sweep of No. 9  UCLA in a tightly-contested five-set battle.

UO (19-5, 7-4) pulled out its first five-set victory of the season with wins in the first two sets by narrow 26-24 margins, lost the next two sets 18-25 and 21-25, then fought back to win the final set 15-13 over UCLA (15-7, 5-6).

Oregon's win notched a weekend split at the L.A. schools, after No. 12 USC pulled out a five-set win over Oregon Friday night with the fifth set decided by an equally dramatic 23-21 score.

For the second straight night, junior outside hitter Sonja Newcombe was one of a season-high four Ducks that ended with double-digit kill figures. The Lake Arrowhead, Calif., native had 22 kills - three better than her previous season high (19) vs. the Bruins in Eugene a month ago. She also hit .327 - her fifth conference match above .300.

Just a week earlier, Newcombe's status had been questionable in UO's matches vs. the Arizona league rivals when she missed one match entirely, and saw partial action as a reserve in the other. However, a knee injury from Washington State two weeks ago did little to slow her productivity Saturday.

She also tallied a season-high-tying 18 digs en route to sixth double-double of the season and 30th of her career. In the same category, senior libero Katie Swoboda ended with a team-high 22 digs and was one five Ducks that had double-digit tallies.

Junior middle blocker Neticia Enesi led the hitting percentage column (.452) for the second straight night and 11th time this season. The Dalles, Ore., native's 17 kills tied for second-best on the team with All-American and senior outside hitter Gorana Maricic who scored her third double-double of the season with her season-high 16 digs.

Sophomore outside hitter Heather Meyers also added 11 kills and 14 digs for her first career double-double, with the latter figure a career high by five digs.

Helping direct the offense, junior setter Nevena Djordjevic upped her career assists best for the second straight night, and her 64 Saturday was four better than her tally (60) in Friday's match at No. 12 USC. The Lazarevac, Serbia native added 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the season and 17th of her career.

In other stat categories, senior middle blocker Kristen Forristall registered two blocks, and Djordjevic and junior Amanda Westrick each had single service aces.

As a team, UO hit .243 for the match, and opened with .405 and .283 marks the first two sets, and again hit .300 in the fifth set, balanced by .087 and .188 marks in the third and fourth sets. In contast, UCLA's numbers were more stable in the set comparison (.267 - .262 - .343 - .256 - .280) and ended with a .279 hitting mark - a season high for an opponent in a Duck win.

UO's win Saturday raised Oregon's record vs. UCLA to 3-1 in its last four matches after a 3-1 win this October and a 3-0 win last November - both in Eugene - while the Bruins edged the Ducks, 3-1, last December in the NCAA tournament to advance to the Elite Eight. Before the arrival of fourth-year Duck head coach Jim Moore, UO owned a 1-41 mark all-time vs. the perennial national power.

Looking ahead, No. 7 UO plays returns to the state of Oregon for the second seasonal installment of the Civil War Sponsored by Your Northwest Dodge Dealers. The match vs. Oregon State will be held Friday, November 7 at 7 p.m. in Corvallis.

Article courtesy of Oregon athletics.

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