After a tough four set loss against No. 16 Purdue Maryland volleyball will look to bounce back against another battled tested Big Ten foe Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have started the season 10-5 just like the Terps, and are coming into College Park coming off a loss against Indiana. The Terps lost both matches against the Buckeyes last season, a four-set match in Columbus and three sets at the Pavilion.
Both teams are 1-2 in conference play and will look to win their second conference game. The Buckeyes upset the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions in their only conference victory, while the Terps defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights last week.
Both teams have extremely balanced offenses, lead by a trio of attackers. Leading the Buckeyes attack are the trio of freshman outside hitter Mia Grunze, freshman Vanja Bukilic and sophomore middle blocker Lauren Witte. Grunze leads the team with 161 kills, Bukilic and Witte are not far behind with 157 and 145 kills, respectively.
The Terps have a balanced attack of their own, which has been the key to success in their 10 victories this season. Sophomore outside hitter Erika Pritchard had 17 kills in the last match against Purdue, despite playing much of the much with an ankle injury. Pritchard is third in the conference in kills with 224 on the season, a constant offensive force for the Terps.
Senior outside hitter Liz Twilley and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Katie Myers have provided a nice compliment to Pritchard thus far this season. Twilley has made a huge stride in her senior season with 139 kills so far, and Myers has added 95 of her own. Myers is back to full health after struggling with a lingering knee injury the past two seasons.
Defensively, the Buckeyes leading sophomore defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder has 215 kills thus far this season. Freshman libero Allegra Rivas leads the Terps defensively who will look to continue her strong start to big ten play. Rivas finished with 39 digs in the last two matches, including winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after her 23 dig performance against No. 7 Minnesota.
If both teams are able to maintain the offensive balance they are capable of, it will be extremely difficult for both specialists to predict where the attacks are coming from.
First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m Saturday night at the Pavilion in the Xfinity Center.
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