Maryland volleyball defeated a ranked opponent No. 15 Michigan in straight sets on the road for the first time in program history. After struggling against No. 4 Illinois last Sunday, the Terps bounced back strongly with a complete performance on both sides of the net.
After the win, the Terps move to 16-11 and 7-8 in the conference on the season. With five games remaining on the season, the Terps matched their conference win total from last season.
Two keys entering the match for the Terps were limiting the success of senior outside hitter Carly Skjodt and finding offensive balance. Skjodt finished with 21 kills the last time the two teams met however, tonight was a different story.
The Terps were successful defensively, limiting her to 10 kills with a .162 hitting percentage. As a unit, the defense finished with 13.5 blocks on the night and 11 blocks in the extended second set, the highest total in a set during a conference match in program history. The middle blocker duo of freshman Rainelle Jones and redshirt freshman Katie Myers led the way combining for 11 blocks. Freshman libero Allegra Rivas held strong on the backline finishing with 24 digs.
In addition to their stout defense, the Terps also maintained offensive balance throughout the match. In the first set, the Terps finished with a .351 hitting percentage senior outside hitter Liz Twilley led the way with six kills. Sophomore setter Nicole Alford had 17 of her 37 assists in the first set, setting up the Terps attackers with great balls.
Sophomore outside hitter Erika Pritchard spearheaded the offense with 16 kills, adding to her conference-leading total. Myers complemented Pritchard and Twilley well with eight kills in addition to her strong defense.
Despite Michigan battling back to tie the second set at 24, the Terps maintained their composure to finish out the set 30-28. Jones finished the set off with an emphatic block in an important moment, continuing to show signs of growth as a freshman. The third set, the Terps did not allow the Wolverines to make another comeback closing the door winning the final two points.
Now the Terps will travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State, who they defeated in a thrilling five-set match at the Pavilion on September 29.