EUGENE - The No. 9 University of Oregon volleyball team (8-0) outlasted an early challenge from the WCC preseason favorite St. Mary's (5-4) to stake its fifth sweep of the season Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena.
Oregon won by a 27-25, 25-21, 25-18 count to raise its all-time record in the series to 3-1.
"They took us out of the rhythm even in game three with their serving," Oregon head coach Jim Moore said. "We should had made some adjustments earlier passing-wise, and we didn't apply much pressure serving. Luckily, our physical play was the difference in the first set. Overall, our blocking was better, but our passing will need to improve."
Sophomore outside hitter Liz Brenner led the Ducks for the second straight match offensively, thanks to her season-high 18 kills.
"We were pretty focused," Brenner said. "They was ready to play early, so we had to respond. We're getting more in tune with each other offensively. Coach said we needed to improve on our passing and serving after the second set, and it showed in the third."
The returning All-Pac-12 Freshman Team honoree logged her third +.500 match of the season, thanks to a season-high .538 mark.
Redshirt senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma added her fifth double-digit kill tally of the campaign (13, .310), and added an ace, a team-high three blocks and seven digs.
"We're a rhythm team," Bergsma said, "and we weren't on serving and passing at the start, so we had to improve that as the match went on. They ran some fast sets on the outside, and we had to react defensively. Once we calmed down a little offensively, things clicked more."
Junior middle blocker Ariana Williams tied her for the team lead in blocks (3), and topped .300 for the seventh straight match (.389, 8 kills).
Leading Oregon to .308 team hitting mark, junior setter Lauren Plum finished with 38 assists, eight digs and two blocks.
Also on defense, senior libero Haley Jacob paced the team in digs (13) for the fifth time this year, while senior defensive specialist Kellie Kawasaki added the team's other ace of the match.
Among the team comparisons, UO owned advantages in hitting (.308), kills (46-45), assists (43-42), aces (3-1) and digs (50-39), and the two teams tied in blocks (6.0-6.0).
Gabby Jolly (14 kills, .435, 4 blocks, 16 points) and Kate Reininger (11 kills, .562) led St. Mary's offensively, and other category leaders included Dalas Dodd (41 assists), Jordan Shaw (10 digs) and Lauren Corp (1 ace).
"We knew Jolly could put the ball on the floor, but we wanted to limit their outsides," Moore said. "We're undefeated, but we have to have more enthusiasm from the start of the match, and just go out and have fun."
Looking ahead, UO wraps up its non-conference slate at Portland State (4-6) with a 7 p.m. match on Wednesday, September 12.