After two tough losses against No.13 Michigan and Michigan State, the Terps will look to bounce back against No. 17 Purdue on Friday in West Lafayette, Indiana. The last time the Terps and Boilermakers met, Purdue won in four sets (15-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-21).
Having already faced them once, the Terps are familiar with the Boilermakers. It all starts with slowing down redshirt senior middle blocker Sherrida Atkinson who is sixth in the conference in kills. Last time the two teams faced off, freshman middle blocker Grace Cleveland led the way with 15 kills.
Atkinson finished with 11 kills, sophomore outside hitter Caitlyn Newton finished with ten. All three provided the Boilermaker offense with nice balance, making it difficult for the Terps blockers to predict where the attacks are coming from.
The Terps defense held the Boilermakers to .204 hitting percentage as well as compiling 10 blocks. The middle blocker duo of redshirt freshman Katie Myers and freshman Rainelle Jones will be key in the middle for the Terps. Freshman libero Allegra Rivas and senior defensive specialist Abigail Bentz will be vital on the back end providing support to the blockers.
Offensive efficiency for the Terps will be key in the match, as the Boilermakers finished with twelve blocks in their last meeting. The first set of the last meeting, the Terps dominated hitting .438 with 15 kills.
The trio of sophomore outside hitter Erika Pritchard, Myers and freshman outside hitter Emma Schriner had great success generating attacks from all over the court. Senior outside hitter Liz Twilley will also be important in contributing to the offensive balance making it difficult for the Boilermaker defenders to decipher where the attacks are coming from.
Generating success from the service line will also be important for the Terps who only finished with two aces in their last meeting. Myers first in the conference in aces and junior setter Samantha Snyder will look to move the Boilermakers out of system. With effective serves that move the defenders out of position it will be easier for the Terps attackers to find open space.
Another important key for the Terps will be not getting too emotional during the match. After winning the first set, the Terps had a little too much energy and will look to find the balance in the rematch. Finding the balance between playing with energy, but also maintaining focus will be a challenge in a hostile environment against a ranked opponent.
The Terps will look to leave West Lafayette with a win building momentum at the start of a three-game road trip.