Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Terps split weekend matches earn third conference victory

No. 9 Penn State

The homecoming for head coach Adam Hughes brought the result he and the team wanted to avoid – a straight set loss (16-25, 15-25, 16-25) to the Nittany Lions. Penn State controlled all three sets, jumping out to a 7-3 and 8-2 lead in the first two sets. Coming back from a significant deficit against one of the top teams in the country is extremely difficult.

The Terps struggled with offensive efficiency throughout the match, with their highest clip of the match (.108) coming in the third set. Freshman outside hitter Emma Schriner led the Terps with nine kills, hitting at a .368 clip. Overall, the Terps finished hitting at a .030 clip – their lowest total of the season thus far.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions finished with 12 blocks, doubling up the Terps total of six. Freshman middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord let the Nittany Lions with five blocks, making it tough for the Terps to generate consistent offense throughout the match. In addition to the Nittany Lions stout defending, the Terps committed five or more errors in all three sets.

Heading into the match, the Terps had been serving very well of late, coming off a season-high 14 aces in the five set victory over Ohio State. Both junior setter Samantha Snyder and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Katie Myers, who leads the conference in aces, did not finish with any. Sophomore defensive specialist Samantha Burgio had the Terps only ace of the match.

The Nittany Lions had much more success in their attacks, hitting at .250 clip for the match. Outside hitter graduate student Taylor Heath and freshman setter Jonni Parker lead the offense finishing with a combined 19 kills. Freshman libero Allegra Rivas led the Terps defensively, finishing with 13 digs.

Rutgers

After a tough straight-set loss against No. 9 Penn State, the Terps bounced back quickly to defeat Rutgers in straight sets (27-25, 25-15, 25-14). After battling back and forth in the first set, the Terps used two massive runs in the second and third set to propel them to victory.

In the first set, the Terps had a 22-17 lead but gave up a 6-0 run, and the Scarlet Knights retook the lead 23-22. Proving resilient once again, the Terps battled back to regain the lead and win the set capped off by an ace from Rivas.

In the second set, the Terps hit an extremely efficient .375 clip led by sophomore outside hitter Erika Pritchard and Schriner. Down 12-10, in the second set the Terps surged forward on an 9-0 run leading the charge was outside hitter Liz Twilley, who had four of her seven kills in the match during the run. Pritchard also contributed three of her team high 16 kills down the stretch in the second set, continuing to build the Terps lead.

The third set was a similar story, the Terps jumped out to an early lead winning eight of the first 10 points. Myers and Snyder propelled the Terps with three aces, continuing their strong start to Big Ten play. Hitting at a .333 clip in the third set, the Terps offense was very successful against the Rutgers defense who finished with only four blocks compared to the Terps 11.

Now the Terps will return home to the Pavilion to take on Michigan State and No.17 Michigan on Friday and Sunday.