After a strong straight-sets win against former head coach Steve Aird and Indiana on Sunday, the Terps couldn’t continue the momentum into Champaign, losing to No.6 Illinois in straight sets. With the loss, the Terps move to 13-10 on the season and 4-7 in the Big Ten.
The strong Illini defense and offense was dominant in the first set. The defense stifled the Terps to only six kills in the first set compared to their 17. In addition, the Terps hit .-032, one of their lowest hitting performances in a set this season. Finishing with a total of 11 combined service and attack errors in the first set, it was tough for the Terps to bounce back against one of the best teams in the Big Ten.
The second set was a similar story. The suffocating Illini defense allowed their attackers to find open spots on the court, beating the Terps blockers. Generating no blocks in the first set, the Terps defense improved slightly in set two, blocking two of the Illini attacks. Despite the improved defense effort, the Illini still were still able to generate plenty of success offensively, hitting at a .364 clip in the set. A similar trend continued to the second set, as the Terps finished with a total of 10 errors a significant factor in the 25-14 loss same as set one.
Despite the struggles of the first two sets, the Terps played much better in set three. The Terps hit their highest clip of the match, .167, while finishing with three blocks more than the previous two sets. Maryland cut the total number of errors to five and finished with 11 kills – their highest total of the match – which prevented the Illini from pulling away. The Illini won the final three points to win the set 25-19 and close out the match.
Sophomore outside hitter Erika Pritchard once again led the Terps offensively with nine kills, while redshirt freshman Katie Myers finished with five. Junior outside hitter Jacqueline Quade led the Illini with 12 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Megan Cooney finished with 12 as well.
The Terps will now return home for three games looking to get back in the win column beginning against Iowa on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in the Pavilion.