SCORESHEET/Ducks, Beavers kick off Pac-12 volleyball season with clash in Eugene

Waverley Country Club came out a winner as host of the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, Sept. 9-14.

Peter Jacobsen, the former PGA Tour star from Lincoln High who has been a lifelong member, was the guest speaker at the pre-tourney festivities. Member Lara Tennant, a former University of Oregon women's golf coach, earned co-medalist honors in the national championship for amateurs 50 and older.KYRINIS

Match play turned into a show of Canadian force, with four golfers from Canada cracking the semifinals and two making the finals. Judith Kyrinis, a 53-year-old registered nurse in the Toronto area, defeated her neighbor, 56-year-old Terrill Samuel, 4 and 3, for the title. They live 20 minutes apart. Small world.

The weather and course were spectacular, the organization hitchless — making for a happy United States Golf Association and proud local contingent of organizers and volunteers.

The USGA will return to Oregon in 2018, with the U.S. Senior Men's Amateur at Eugene Country Club Aug. 25-30. It'll be the fifth U.S. championship to be played at the club and the 33rd USGA event to be held in Oregon. The Senior Am is for ages 55 and older.

• Tennant prepped for the U.S. Senior Am with victories in the Oregon Senior Women's Am and Mid-Amateur this year. She's back after rotator cuff surgeries on both shoulders.

"I've played more golf this year than I ever have since college," Tennant said.

Family has been the main thing for her, raising five kids: Richard, a senior at Oregon; Michelle, a junior at Santa Clara; Matthew, who is about to enter Santa Clara; and twins Grace and Caroline, 16, who are juniors at Jesuit High.

"I have more time now, with the kids getting older, but my first priority is my husband and family," she said. "But I'm looking forward to continuing to compete in the future, especially senior golf."

• Her U.S. Senior Amateur caddy was her father, George Mack Sr., an accomplished Oregon amateur who, at 77, still is competing and winning. Mack will be eligible for the new Legends Division next year at the annual Oregon Coast Invitational at Astoria Golf & Country Club and hopes to add that to his titles won over the years in the other four categories.

Civil War

Next for the Oregon Ducks volleyball team, ranked eighth this week, is a 7 p.m. Tuesday Pac-12 opener against much improved Oregon State at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon went 7-1 in the preseason, losing to No. 6 Texas.

The Beavers were 10-2, and last week they led No. 1 Minnesota 1-0 after one set in Boise, Idaho.

The Beavers have strengthened their middle game to augment the power of returning all-Pac-12 outside hitter Mary-Kate Marshall. Opponents have hit only .167 against them. And their attack is more than Marshall. Newcomers Maddie Goings (Aledo, Texas) and Haylie Bennett (redshirt freshman from Philomath High) have joined returnees Lanesha Reagan and Kory Cheshire up front.

Eight Pac-12 teams are ranked in the coaches' top 31 this week (defending national champion Stanford was fourth, Washington seventh, UCLA 11th, Utah 16th, USC 21st, Colorado 25th and Washington State 31st).

Oregon's young new coach, Matt Ulmer, who was promoted as the successor to veteran Jim Moore, says he thinks 10 Pac-12 squads could get into this year's NCAA tournament.

The Ducks have made some adjustments to help overcome the graduation of now-U.S. national team libero Amanda Benson, and their deep front line has benefited from the play of both setters, Maggie Scott and August Raskie. The only in-state player on the squad, former Clackamas High star Taylor Agost, was MVP of the recent Nike Classic in Eugene and Pac-12 offensive player of the week, but she is just one of the arsenal of outside hitters also featuring Lyndsey Vander Weide, Willow Johnson, Jolie Rasmussen and Lauren Page. Middle blockers Ronika Stone and Sumeet Gill have had big matches as well, and Stone is among several attack-minded servers.

"Our depth is for real," says Ulmer, whose team began the season with a 3-1 neutral-site upset of Nebraska, a perennial power ranked 14th this week. "Oregon State is going to be a great matchup. Our conference is so brutal and so fun all at the same time."

The new UO coach, by the way, seems a cinch to have his one-season contract extended or reworked. The players are effusive in their praise for him, and recruiting is going well as the Ducks continue to build for the future, too.


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