First, the Oregon sports weekend recap. The football team rolled past Portland State with a score of 62-7. They rise in the polls to #20 and play San Jose State in Eugene on September 15th in another anticipated cupcake. Oregon will exit the non-conference schedule with one of their most important games of the season, a week four matchup with the #10 Stanford Cardinal. Twelve different Ducks have scored a touchdown in their first two games, highlighting a bounty of athletic scoring options for Justin Herbert to utilize.
Oregon volleyball stunned the #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers last weekend and raised the expectations on just how good the 2018 season might be. They battled against #5 Penn State the following day, but the same energy and clutch factor was missing. Despite bringing both the 1st and 2nd set to a 23-23 tie, Oregon crumbled and allowed Penn State to win both sets 25-23. Penn State outclassed them in the third and final set, 25-19. The promising weekend moves Oregon up five spots in the AVCA polls to #13. Oregon volleyball plays the University of Hawaii in back-to-back matches in Honolulu this weekend, which will be their final non-conference games of the season before a grueling Pac-12 schedule. The Pac-12 has seven teams ranked in the Top-25, with an additional three teams receiving votes. Looking at Oregon’s conference schedule of twenty games, it is estimated that twelve of them will come against ranked opponents.
Now, onto the frosh:
All of Oregon’s greatest athletes spent a year as a freshman. While they are often fondly remembered for record-breaking junior or senior years, many of them were developing an elite skill-set from the moment they stepped on campus. Some recruits had an inspiring first season that promised an exciting career ahead, while others spent the season flying under the radar. Here is a look at Oregon’s fall sports, and five freshmen that have a chance to shine this season.
Penei Sewell: Football
The true freshman left tackle joins as a four-star recruit. Using the first three depth charts provided by Mario Cristobal, it appears that Sewell will be Oregon’s only true freshman in the starting lineup, and one of few freshmen who will continue getting consistent playing time. The 6’6 350 pound monster is a fitting heir to the vacancy left behind by Tyrell Crosby, now with for the Detroit Lions. Surrounded by a great offensive line, Sewell can easily make the Pac-12 All-Freshman team and grow into a top NFL prospect.
Zoe Hasenauer: Women’s Soccer
The freshman forward from Simi Valley, CA has started all six matches for Oregon. Despite having yet to notch her first score, she’s managed five shots on goal so far. As Oregon hopes to rebuild and rise up the Pac-12 standings, continued growth from Hasenauer into a dynamic attacker is something to watch.
C.J. Verdell: Football
The redshirt freshman may have established himself as the first off the bench after starter Tony Brooks-James. Verdell is 2nd on the team in rushing attempts through two games and first in rushing yards. Averaging 6.5 yards per rush, Verdell is expected to play a significant role in the success of Oregon’s offense and wants to carry freshman success into being the next great Oregon rusher.
Cyrus Habibi-Likio: Football
Another redshirt freshman running back joins this list. In spite of only three rushing attempts this season, Habibi-Likio is one of only four players with two touchdowns in the first two games and has played the role of goal line running back for Oregon so far this season. In two situations where Oregon was under ten yards from the end zone, he was substituted and punched the ball through the end zone both times. Assuming Habibi-Likio remains in this special role, he’s going to have some high-leverage carries and have a spotlight on him for only his first season.
Brooke Nuneviller: Volleyball
Nuneviller has jumped out to a great start in her freshman year, joining the team as both a libero and outside hitter. She was quickly plugged in as the starting libero and is already holding her own against the best teams in the country. Despite being surrounded by experience on the floor, Nuneviller already behaves like a leader in constant communication with her team. With a total of 44 digs last weekend, she’s not only an established starter but is already comfortable at the NCAA level. This article was inspired by Nuneviller’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Week distinction for her remarkable performance last weekend. Continued success will surely lead to more accolades.
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