Seeding is so important in NCAA tournaments. The set up is such that higher seeds get perks. In the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament this year the top sixteen teams got a first round bye. Thirty two teams took to the court on April 14th to play in the first round. The Fightin’ Irish were one of those teams. They played four sets against a tough Army team and they were exhausted. Playing back to back days is not an easy task and that’s what the Fightin’ Irish were up against on Thursday afternoon against the Oregon Ducks.
Cover Photo Courtesy Mark Kuhlmann/NCAA Photos
The Fightin’ Irish had there were cut out for them going into Thursday afternoon. The Oregon Ducks coming off of the bye were supercharged and ready to go. Not only were they ready to play, their starting seven checked in at a height range from 5′-6″ to 6′-5″, for of which started at range of 6′-2″ to 6′-5″. The Irish ranged in height from 5′-6″ to 6′-2 in which the Irish ranged two players at 6-0″ and one at 6′-1″ and 6′-2″. Those are big differences when you are at the net in volleyball.
The Fightin’ Irish had one lead in the set and that was at 3-1. The Ducks Elise Ferreira put the Ducks on a 9-0 run to bring the score to 9-3 before the Ducks side out attack error. The Ducks defense was so dominate that the Irish servers could never get a run of points strung together. After the 9-0 run by the ducks the closest the Irish could get to apply any pressure was 13-20.
The Ducks did not run any real long scoring streaks after that. The Irish defense would only allow one or two Ducks serves but the damage was done by the nine point run in the beginning of the set. The Ducks cruised to a 25-17 first set win.
Though the Ducks defense continued to be tenacious, the Fightin’ Irish managed some control in the second set. After exchanging of side outs, an Irish Kill by Charley Niego to bring the score to7-8 Ducks, Niego set herself up for a 5-0 run to bring the Irish to 10-8 and forced Oregon to take a time out. Coach Michael Johnson countered with a Time Out so that he could get Niego’s wrapped up from a mishap earlier. Niego ended the run with an ACE to post a 12-8 lead in the set.
Both teams again exchanged side outs until Oregon went on a run that started at 19-19 and went to 23-19. Hattie Monson served up a couple volleys for a couple points, but ends up with a service error that sends the Ducks to SET POINT. The Ducks win the second set 25-22.
The Ducks started the third set hot once again. The Ducks opened up with a 4-0 run before a Block by Caroline Meuth and and Lauren Wenzel. But the Ducks and the Irish continues in a pattern of side outs getting one or two points along the way. The Irish serve never got a chance again to get in a groove. It was domination by Ducks who controlled the tempo the whole set. The Ducks win set the 25-13.
The Wrap Up
What a season for the Fightin’ Irish Women’s Volleyball team. The future is bright for this team and they will learn from this. Kills: Aubrey Hamilton 9, Charley Niego 8, Hannah Thompson 6. Aces: Charley Niego 2. Blocks: Lauren Wenzel 4, Caroline Meuth 2, Hannah Thompson 1. Assists: Zoe Nunez 24, Hattie Monson 3, Charley Niego 1. Digs: Charley Niego 12, Zoe Nunez 12, Hattie Monson 11.
Cheer and Go Irish!☘🏐🌩