The Maryland Terrapins volleyball team (18-14, 7-13) won their final conference game of the season when they defeated the Northwestern Wildcats (14-18, 4-16) in three sets (25-23, 25-22, 25-13) Friday evening at the Xfinity Center Pavilion.
“I think we executed well, and credit to my staff for coming up with a great game plan,” head coach Steve Aird told Maryland Sports News. “I thought we showed a lot of heart to come back in game two. It’s always great to send the seniors out with a win.”
Freshman outside hitter Erika Pritchard recorded a match-high 15 kills on a .500 hitting percentage, while sophomore outside hitter Gia Milana added 11. The duo’s combined .393 hitting percentage powered the Terps to a victory, but the squad’s most significant statistic was their seven attack errors—their fewest in the past 23 matches.
The two squads entered the first set evenly matched until a pair of aces from sophomore setter Samantha Snyder helped Maryland erupt for a 7-2 run, and take the lead 11-7.
Although Northwestern’s outside hitters continued to swing hard, the Terps would not forfeit their lead. A Milana kill placed the Terps at set point, 24-22, while Pritchard followed her fellow outside hitter with the set-winning kill, 25-23.
Maryland’s defensive presence dissipated in the second set and allowed Northwestern to take a commanding 10-5 edge, forcing Aird to call a timeout. The timeout, however, did not immediately ignite the Terps defense, granting the Wildcats the opportunity to grow their lead to six, 17-11.
But then, the Terps’ offensive weapons in Milana, Gaskin and Pritchard combined for a 7-1 run to pull Maryland even, 18-18. Milana’s third kill of the set placed the Terps at set point, while an offensive lapse from Northwestern gave the Terps their second win of the night, 25-22.
Maryland’s momentum powered the squad throughout the third set, as the Terps hit a combined .609. Senior middle blocker Hailey Murray tallied back-to-back service aces, and catapulted the Terrapins to a quick 7-4 lead. But Maryland’s offensive dominance would not stop there, as a 9-4 run pushed the Terps’ lead 16-8.
A 3-0 run to conclude the match sealed Maryland’s 18th win of the season, 25-13.