Conference Questions: USC’s upset, Washington’s domination and Oregon State’s tentative position

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How big is Oregon’s win against USC?
To say that No. 8 Oregon’s upset victory over No. 2 USC was impressive is an understatement. The Ducks (11-0, 2-0) made a monumental statement with their three-straight set victory (25-19, 25-15, 25-23) at home against the Trojans.

USC (13-1, 1-1) was coming off a huge win against No. 1 UCLA on Sept. 19 in the Galen Center. The two best teams in the country entered, but the Trojans emerged victorious with the title of No. 1 team in their sights.

All USC had to do was take care of business against Oregon — a team the Trojans had beaten in 21 straight matches at home.

Three sets later, Oregon shocked the volleyball world. Not only did the Ducks defeat a team that had a chance to become the national number one, but they did it in a dominating fashion.

The Duck’s offense featured three hitters with plus .300 hitting marks en route to a team .357 combined mark. They held a significant advantage in both kills (55-32) and digs (57-37).

Oregon now owns the best record in the conference beside Washington and can expect the NCAA ranking committee to recognize their strength.

— Austin Crochetiere

Can Washington continue its streak of dominance going into their home match against UCLA?
No. 5 Washington entered conference play not losing a single set during their non-conference schedule. After victories against Arizona and Washington State, the team has still only lost two sets all year long.

But now the Huskies (11-0, 2-0) face current No. 1 UCLA on their home turf on Sept. 26th in a matchup of top Pac-12 squads. The Bruins (9-2, 1-1) will challenge Washington in a game that will probably not be decided in just three sets.

The Bruins are coming off a solid 3-0 victory over Oregon State, but the bitter defeat against No. 2 USC remains fresh in their minds. The squad fell from their high perch and will most likely land behind three or four pac-12 schools when the next national rankings are released.
UCLA believes it is better than those four squads and will come in to Seattle still looking for a team to beat in its frustration.

However, the Huskies are out to hold on to their top spot in the conference and will not back down. Both teams have desire and both squads are good, therefore a five-set match is not out the question.

— Austin Crochetiere


Will Oregon State finally break through and join the elite teams in the conference?
For a while now, the Beavers have hovered near the top 25 in the nation, receiving 63 votes in the last poll — the most of any unranked team.

More importantly, though, is the fact that they boast a 10-4 record (0-2 in the Pac-12), including wins against Santa Clara and Penn State. But the squad lost its last two matches against Pac-12 powerhouses Oregon and UCLA by a 3-0 each time.

If Oregon State can keep up with its play from the rest of the season and get past these losses, it could make noise at the top of the division. Each of the top squads besides Washington has lost a match, and the Huskies could join that category against No. 1 UCLA.

As Pac-12 play continues, the Beavers’ next four matches are relatively manageable, coming against Colorado, Utah, Cal and Stanford.

The Beavers have a lot to prove, as they certainly have the talent and coaching to take them to the next level. As the season progresses, we will see if Oregon State can find a way to get hot, but the Beavers are definitely not a team to sleep on.

— Karan Karia